Trudy Thornton ended her most successful season of race riding doing what she does best – winning.
The highly talented and hard-working Cambridge horsewoman had to settle for placings since landing a double on Santa Monica at Ruakaka on June 30 then July 14, but she put the record straight at Rotorua on Saturday when guiding Magnanimous Man to victory in the King Country Rugby Supporters 2200.
While so proud of the achievements of her daughter, Sam Collett, in winning the New Zealand Jockeys’ Premiership (with 132 wins), Thornton should also be proud of her own achievements during the 2017-18 term.
The Shaune Ritchie-trained Magnanimous Man was her last ride for the season and it took her tally for the period to 40 wins and the prizemoney earned by her mounts to $1.1 million.
Though she has ridden more winners in a season seven times, it’s the first time she has cracked the $1 million prizemoney barrier.
“Actually I didn’t realise that,” she said. “I just get out there and keep going. It’s what I’ve done all my life. It’s just how I make a living and have supported my kids.”
Thornton’s wins this season have included four at Group or Listed level with the highlight being her victory in the Gr.1 Zabeel Classic (2000m) at Ellerslie on Boxing Day aboard Authentic Paddy. She also won the Gr.2 Waikato Guineas (2000m) at Te Rapa last February on Xbox and picked up a Group One third on Authentic Paddy in the NZ Stakes (2000m).
Thornton’s highest number of wins in a season came back in 1998-99 when she was successful 71 times for $890,300 in prizemoney.
The mother of three rode her first winner in the 1982-83 season and has the distinction of being the first woman to ride in a Great Northern Steeplechase when seventh on Battle On in 1985.
Thornton has watched proudly as daughter Sam (28) has worked her way to the top of her profession and her younger daughter, Jess (25), has shown the same admirable work ethic in qualifying as a solicitor based in Hamilton.
“As for Ben (15), he’s not interested in going to the races. He’s at that age where he has other things he’s interested in, but he’s doing well,” Thornton said. “I’m proud of all three and I’m fortunate I’ve been able to provide for them all through my riding.”
The Cambridge training track is like a second home to Thornton and she has ridden for a host of trainers over the years. These days she is regularly riding work for Andrew Campbell and loving it.
“He’s got some really nice horses in his stable,” she said. “I’m enjoying riding work for him and I’ve always ridden for Mark Fraser-Campin. He’s quiet through the winter, but he’ll crank up soon.”
Though 55, Thornton belies her age and when it comes to a race finish, she’s one of the toughest to beat. Just ask anyone in the jockeys’ rooms.
As for the new season, she will be out to add to her career tally (1060 wins). “I’ll just keep chipping away,” she said. – NZ Racing Desk