New Caledonia break for Thornton

Trudy Thornton returning to scale after winning on Celebrity Miss on Auckland Cup Day. (Photo: Wally O'Hearn).

Trudy Thornton returning to scale after winning on Celebrity Miss on Auckland Cup Day. (Photo: Wally O’Hearn).

Few things in racing are new to Trudy Thornton these days.

The 52-year-old Cambridge jockey has lived a truly remarkable career in the saddle, winning Group One races in New Zealand and feature events in Singapore, Malaysia and Australia.

But Thornton will break new ground this weekend when she rides in New Caledonia for the first time.

“Any new experience is great,” she said. “I get to take my son on vacation and get away from riding here in the mud. They tell me it’s 25 degrees over there – that’ll do me.”

Thornton has taken her maximum book of seven rides at Noumea for owners Patrick and Marie Colomina, clients of New Zealand stockfood business Dunstan Feeds, whose boss David Smith set up the trip.

“It’s pretty low-key racing by all accounts but the facilities are very good,” said Thornton.

“I don’t know a lot about it other than New Caledonia is just a little to the right of Australia on the map and they speak French.

“The main race is a $30,000 open race over 1400 metres and the people I’m riding for have a farm and they export veal to France. It’s all been organised through David Smith at Dunstan. He’s been super.”

Smith said Thornton’s mount in the feature race, the Clarke Cup, was Kiwi De Lago, a form runner.

“She’s riding a form horse, a mare who has won four of her last five starts,” said Smith. “It’s one of the big races in New Caledonia, this one is only for locally-bred horses up there.

“Trudy will go well up there and she’ll have a lot of fun.”

– NZ Racing Desk