One of Australia’s favourite jockeys Robert Thompson, 63, has decided to put away his saddle and jodhpurs after a distinguished 49 years in the saddle.
“When someone speaks of a ‘gentleman of the turf’ at the top of the list would be Robert Thompson,” said Racing NSW’s CEO, Mr Peter V’landys AM.
“Robert has been a highly-successful jockey breaking many records and his longevity and dedication to the sport is renown.
“He’s not just a champion rider, Robert is a champion person and admired by every jockey that crosses his path and we wish him well in his next phase of life.”
In a stellar career Thompson guided home a national record of 4447 winners and claimed seven Group One winners during his time in the saddle.
One of the best was Heavenly Glow with whom he partnered to win the Gr 1-AJC Oaks at Royal Randwick and the Gr 1-Arrowfield Stakes at Rosehill Gardens.
“It’s only a number,” Thompson humbly said of the riding record. “But it might give the younger jockeys something to chase.”
Among Thompson’s accolades is entry to the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2015, and he was also recognised for his services and contribution to the racing industry when made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in that same year.
Of the endless list of races taken out by Thompson, one that was close to his heart was the Jungle Juice at his beloved Cessnock Racecourse – he won it an astonishing 11 times.
“I’ve definitely finished,” Thompson said. “I’m 63 and not getting any younger and I’ve had enough of the travelling and the wasting which I’ve done for nearly 50 years.”
It has been estimated Thompson travelled around 9.2 million kilometres to attend race meetings around the state to fulfil his 30,000-odd rides.
Thompson will now concentrate on his property with wife Jenny located within kicking distance of Cessnock Racetrack where he runs 80-head of cattle.