Horse Racing

Breaking into the top 10, top five next

Apprentice Anthony Thomas reveals after four-timer that he started to ride after watching sports news

BY RUDDY ALLEN
Observer staff writer

Tuesday, September 05, 2017



Claiming apprentice Anthony Thomas doesn't want to get too far ahead of himself, but his recent rise in form has induced the promising rider to set himself another goal – to finish among the top five jockeys at Caymanas Park for the 2017 season.

That objective is not beyond the 25-year-old Thomas, who is now enjoying his best form ever in his budding career which started at the Park on September 26, 2015.

Last Saturday, Thomas joined a select band of riders to win four or more races on a given race day. With those four winners, Thomas has tallied seven winners in three race days, which also includes a triple – an exploit that has enabled him to break into the top 10 on the jockeys' standing.

Thomas is tied for seventh place with Dane Nelson (currently riding in Canada) on 22 winners. Omar Walker (62 winners) leads ahead of Shane Ellis (42 winners) and Wesley Henry (40 winners).

“It feels really good to break into the top 10 on the jockeys' list. I mean, this is a very good accomplishment and I am grateful for it. I just want to continue riding the way I am riding now, which is very well at the moment, and continue bringing home the winners. I just want to concentrate on what I am doing.

“Anything is possible, as once you are getting the rides, the winners are going to come along. Now that I am in the top 10, I want to see if I can break into the top five. That is the aim at the moment, as I want to be the best I can be,” Thomas told the Supreme Racing Guide.

Thomas's winners on Saturday were Stir It Up for trainer Steven Todd in the third race, Uncle Freddie for trainer Gary Subratie in the eighth race, Fortuneonehundred for trainer Rowan Mathie in the ninth race, and Powerful Red in the night cap – the 11th event – for owner and trainer Welsh Soutar.

“It feels so nice, and I am happy to know that something like riding four winners on a day has happened and thing. It is a great feeling overall still. I try to work hard in the mornings and be at work – if not early, but on time – and do what I am supposed to do. The most important thing is that I have a good relationship with the trainers, I have manners, and I show and treat everyone with respect,” he said.

It actually took Thomas less than two minutes to realise he wanted to become a jockey. He wasn't even interested in the sport at the time, but as soon as he witnessed his first horse race on television, he was hooked. The racing bug had bitten the young man.

The move from his birthplace in St Mary to Caymanas Park in Portmore is turning out to be a very good one. The young rider, almost two years since starting his career, has so far won 36 races, finishing second 42 times and third 65 times from 450 mounts.

“I usually did tiling work with my cousin, and one evening when I went home I started to watch the sports news on television and saw the horses racing. Right away a little thought came into my head. Due to my small body, I thought that this profession could fit me, as they always say that small people become jockeys.

“So I made up my mind that I was going to try out for it, and I got through. My cousin had a little contact over at Caymanas Park where he knew a couple of trainers, and so I got to link up with them. My aunt also knew some trainers, and she made some contacts with them as well.

“That was when I met trainer Welsh Soutar who became my apprentice master. He really taught me a lot, and I must give him thanks for everything. From there it started for me,” Thomas ended.

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