Horse Racing

WHAT THEY SAY: Errol Thomas - CHAMPION GROOM 2017

Friday, February 09, 2018

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When did you start your career as a groom?

I came into racing about 30 years ago. I am a lover of the sport from early in my life. I mean, I love horse racing and just being around the animals on a daily basis makes me comfortable and happy. I started out working with Laurie Silvera then I went on to Bobby Hale, then to Allan “Billy” Williams after which I had moved to Nigel Nunes, and now I am with Gary Subratie. My career has been good so far and I am pleased with where I am right now, but of course I am always looking for more winners.

Which horse was your first winner?

A horse by the name of Grey Miss. She wasn't a top-class horse, but Grey Miss had done well to win four races for me. She was quite a racehorse and an easy one to look after, and there was a special connection between the two of us. I was at Laurie Silvera's stable at the time.

Which horse was your longest odds winner?

My longest odds winner was Lady T. She won at odds of 79-1 in a Classic race – the Jamaica Oaks. Winning at that long odds was never in my mind, as I was celebrating for crossing the finishing line in front that day. That race was a Classic race and so I was more into the winning, but to win at such long odds was great as well. Winning a Classic race and at long odds too was simply out of this world, and remains very special for me to this day. I cherish that day, I cherish that moment.

Which is the best horse you have groomed?

I have groomed some pretty good horses back in the days. Lady T was a very good horse, as I won the 1000 Guineas and Jamaica Oaks with her in 2007 plus some other good races as well. Lady T was really a special horse in the development of my career. I have had some other good successes like Poetry In Motion, who in 1985 won the 1000 Guineas and Jamaica Oaks, and Niphal, who won the 2011, 1000 Guineas, but Lady T is my favourite because sometimes it's about the connection you make with the horse and I connected very well with Lady T.

Which is the best horse you have seen race at Caymanas Park?

I have seen some really outstanding horses over the time and they all are special. But as time goes by other horses come along such as Seeking My Dream. He won the first ever Diamond Mile race and he came back and won the Diamond Mile for the second time in a row and was also voted as Horse of the Year two times in a row as well. He was also a Derby winner. Then came the brilliant filly She's A Maneater. This filly won nine races straight last season and in those wins were the Triple Crown (1,000 Guineas, Jamaica Derby and Jamaica St Leger) victories, the Superstakes and the Diamond Mile. So far, She's A Maneater has the edge; unfortunately Seeking My Dream had an injury which hampered him last season, but he is a good horse nonetheless.

Who influenced your career the most?

Everyone played his or her part in my accomplishment in the racing industry, but the most influential persons are trainer Gary Subratie and jockey Omar Walker. Thanks to everyone else as well.

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