Zabeel win heads Thornton’s Christmas wish list

thornton t 4868 (640x427)Trudy Thornton won’t complain if she has to wait a day for her biggest Christmas present.

The Cambridge jockey (pictured)would love to add a Group One win to her Christmas stocking and that might arrive at Ellerslie tomorrow.

Thornton has won a trial on Pondarosa Miss, but will have her first raceday ride on the mare in the Gr. 1 Zabeel Classic (2000m).  “I really like her and I’m quite excited to be riding her,” said Thornton.

Thornton is 52 and rode her first winner in 1983 but has had something of a career revival since turning 50.

She has seven mounts at the premier meeting at Ellerslie and will be riding in all three black-type races and she is just outside the top 20 on the jockeys’ premiership. Her 18 wins this term include three stakes races, headed by the Gr. 3 Taranaki Breeders’ Stakes on Kisses.

She has won 100 races since the start of the 2013-14 season and is closing in on 1000 New Zealand wins. “I’m still really enthusiastic about what I do,” she said.

Thornton has won two Group One races at Ellerslie and recorded her last major win when Megapins was successful in the 2009 Wellington Cup.

Her other mounts on Saturday include the topweight Caellum in the Listed Hallmark Stakes and debut winner Pasabahce in the Gr. 2 Eight Carat Classic.

Caellum is unbeaten in two starts since returning to New Zealand, from Queensland, and opened as equal second favourite while Pondarosa Miss was on the fifth line of betting for the Zabeel.

Pondarosa Miss, winner of the Gr. 1 Easter Mile in her last appearance at Ellerslie, will be something of an unknown quantity this weekend. She has managed just one placing from six starts this term but had little luck at the Hastings spring carnival and her last two starts in Victoria were in strong company.

Trainer Peter Hollinshead believes the mare was hampered by a foot problem in Melbourne. “My blacksmith has done some work on her feet and that seems to have fixed it,” he said. “She has worked well this week.

“She will benefit from the race but she’s thrived since she’s been home. She’s a tough old girl and doesn’t need a lot of work to get ready.”

Pondarosa Miss also races well at Ellerslie. She has won three of her seven starts there and ran third in both the Zabeel Classic and Auckland Cup last season.

NZ Racing Desk