No Doubting Thomas

Sport

No Doubting Thomas

Jockey Anthony Thomas rides eight winners over St Leger weekend of racing

BY OBSERVER RACING WRITER

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

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THERE are many defining moments in the career of any individual, whether in sports or in any other discipline.

For jockey Anthony Thomas, one of those defining moments came in November of 2017 when as an apprentice he got a chance ride on Chace The Great and made full use of that opportunity by winning the top-rated Caribbean Sprint Championship.

Then, as fate would have it, on the same day when he partnered Chace The Great to victory he received another chance ride – this time on Triple Crown champion She's A Maneater in the Superstakes – and again the young man from St Mary did not miss, as despite the heavy burden placed on him he got the job done with aplomb.

Thomas had a slow start to his riding career as, after graduating from the Jockeys' Training School in 2016, the winners were slow in coming. Yet, given his determination to master his craft and to succeed, Thomas trudged along.

Suddenly when the leading apprentices at the time – Linton Steadman, Bebeto Harvey and Dane Dawkins, among others – lost their claiming rights, Thomas started his rise among the rank of reinsmen at Caymanas Park.

In 2018 another defining moment was achieved when he won the jockeys' championship for the first time.

He came off the boil somewhat in 2019 but this year, despite the three-month break in racing due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Thomas has once again risen to the top.

On Saturday last (September 26), Thomas started out one win behind leading rider Dane Nelson. He rode three winners on the day, to lead by two going into the nine-race Sunday card of September 27.

Then came probably the finest moment in the young man's career thus far. Out of eight run races, Thomas brought home five winners from seven rides to lead in the race for championship honours by seven. That is a winning statistic of 71.42 per cent, which is literally unheard of in horse racing. Noticeably, Nelson was winless on both days.

But is Anthony Thomas special? And if so, why is he special?

One trainer who has been monitoring the progress of Thomas but who requested that his name not be mentioned, is of no doubt that Thomas is indeed special and gifted.

“Thomas, or as a lot of people call him 'St Mary', has all the attributes to be successful. He's at the racetrack from early in the mornings and is one of the last to leave.

“He listens keenly to instructions, both for doing exercise gallops and on race days. He exercises the broncos [young horses] as well, while some of the other jockeys shy away from this sometimes difficult assignment.

“No one can predict the future but if St Mary continues the way he presently conducts himself then a good riding future awaits him – plus, he is humble and always willing to work,” the trainer said.


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