Well done Trudy!

Memorable moment: Trudy Thornton returning to scale at Tauranga yesterday on Gangsters Lass, her 1000th winner.

Memorable moment: Trudy Thornton returning to scale at Tauranga yesterday on Gangsters Lass, her 1000th winner.

It was fitting that Trudy Thornton recorded her milestone 1000th win aboard Gangsters Lass at Tauranga yesterday.

Unlike some of her higher profile colleagues, Thornton isn’t linked to a major stable. She is only too happy to help out the smaller trainers, often with battling horses.

For Thornton, loyalty is part of her makeup, so often showing that quality when helping out trainers and owners with difficult horses at the expense of a better one-off ride on raceday.

One such trainer is John Revell, a veteran Te Aroha horseman who had his share of good horses through his stable many years ago, but has battled away with a lot of lesser lights in the latter years of his lengthy training career.

Revell has called upon Thornton on several occasions and was happy to have her aboard Gangsters Lass at Tauranga yesterday.

Thornton had ridden Gangsters Lass twice previously on raceday, finishing second-last on both occasions. She had also been aboard in each of her three trials (for two placings, one being a third behind the exciting Pearson Square).

With a fifth the best result in six starts, Gangsters Lass wasn’t the pick of rides in the Crockford Real Estate 1600 and punters judged her accordingly, allowing her to start at odds of 25/1 in the eight-horse field.

However, Thornton got the best out of the Guillotine three-year-old filly, getting her home first in a desperate finish. The winning margin was a nose over All Razzle Dazzle, but that’s all that was needed to give Thornton her milestone 1000th win.

The closest jockeys left chasing her home were Vinnie Colgan (All Razzle Dazzle), Leith Innes (Keen To Keeper) and Sam Spratt (Sosecret).

The media, especially Trackside presenters, were making more of the bid for 1000 wins than Thornton, but she was pleased to achieve the result.

“It was lovely to do it for Mr Revell, he’s been a great supporter of mine,” said Thornton, after returning to a rousing birdcage reception.

“I haven’t really chased this. It’s about balance with the family – family means everything to me, but it is a great achievement.”

It was Thornton’s fourth win for Revell and her 79th success at Tauranga. The milestone came in her 34th season in the raceday saddle after she registered her first win, as an amateur rider, in the 1982-83 term.

Following her brief stint as an amateur rider, Thornton (then under her maiden name of Archer) signed on as an apprentice and over the years she has made her mark as one of the toughest and most courageous jockeys.

She has made the most of any opportunities in top races and has kicked home 37 Group or Listed winners, plus eight over fences, and she recorded her best season in 1998-99 when winning 71 races.

Through it all she has brought up her children, Sam (also a successful jockey), Jess and Ben and, obviously, the three are so proud of her achievements.

Jess summed up their feelings in her Facebook posting.

“Congratulations to the woman who is have the absolute privilege of calling my mother!” she wrote. “I have watched you work your hands to the bone to succeed at what you do while juggling being a full time mum and being amazing at that too for as long as I can remember. You are our idol, our rock, and one hell of a name to live up to.”

Now aged 53, Thornton is showing no signs of easing up and is as competitive as ever.

“I do it for my love of riding… and the money!” she said. “I still enjoy what I’m doing and if I had my time over I’d do it all again.”

On behalf of the Cambridge centre, well done Trudy. We, too, are all so proud of you.