ROBERT Thompson’s remarkable year got even better yesterday when he combined with Taree trainer Ross Stitt to win the $80,000 Carlton Mid Coffs Harbour Cup (1600m) aboard Southern Shimmer.
In the past few months Thompson has passed a milestone 4000 career-winners, won the Jungle Juice Cup for a record 10th time and claimed his fourth Ramornie Handicap at Grafton.
On Tuesday he rode a treble at Tamworth and backed that up at Coffs yesterday with another treble, including a storming cup win aboard day-today proposition Southern Shimmer.
Last year Thompson had also won the Ramornie Handicap, his third, on Youthful Jack for Stitt.
It was Stitt’s first Ramornie win and yesterday was his first Coffs Cup win.
The riding icon from Cessnock had Southern Shimmer in a midfield position on the rail and brought him with a strong run between horses to outgun the Chris Waller-trained Disciple and stablemate Single Spirit in a three-way finish.
“I’ve been trying to win this race for a while too,” Stitt said.
“I ran second with Single Spirit last year, and fourth with Youthful Jack a few years ago.
“This bloke (Southern Shimmer) ran third in it when he’d just turned four.”
After that he injured a tendon and was out for almost two years.
He had his first run back at Scone recently when a close second to Bouzy Rouge in the Satur Handicap.
It was a superb training effort from Stitt.
“If he stood up I knew he was capable of winning anything, in the country anyway,” Stitt said.
“But boy he was tugging mid race.” Seven-year-old Southern Shimmer surged strongly when asked by Thompson and speared between his stablemate and Disciple to collect an 11th race win at his 35th start.
He was in “ice” yesterday afternoon after his cup win and will be in his regular ice boots again this morning too as Stitt tries to keep him sound.
Next race on the big black geding’s schedule is the Taree Cup while Single Spirit will be freshened up for a carck at a 1250m on Taree Cup day and then the Ballina Cup on September 12.