A jockey has hit back after a racing fan questioned her lack of effort on a gambled runner.
Stephanie Thornton took to social media to explain the ride on Campai, who shot clear in a race at Sunshine Coast, Australia. Several lengths ahead on the home turn in the Independent Liquor Group Benchmark 65 Handicap, backers sensed a nice win.
As the other riders started to push away on their mounts, Thornton was yet to ask the three-year-old filly a question. The female jockey started to nudge slightly as the pack closed and then overtook the fancied horse.
Thornton looked down and limited her movement in the saddle as five rivals swept on by. Victory in the 1100m event on May 11 went to Imposing Beau, who was only in sixth place when Campai held her healthy advantage.
Thornton crossed the line in sixth aboard the horse she previously won on at the track earlier in the year. Afterwards, racing fan Tom Papley posted on Twitter : “Thoughts on Stephanie Thornton on #19 campai at sunny coast. Hasn’t fully rode the horse surely?? Big market support late as well. Interesting? @PfitznerMiles @SEN_track @qldtrials @Browndogg_30x @camluke.”
Other followers of the sport were quick to point out that there was an important reason why Thornton could not ride the horse in the usual way.
The jockey replied: “For those commenting… my breastplate snapped upon jumping out of the gates and my saddle slipped back near Campai’s flank. I give so much credit to this horse for not reacting and acquitting herself in such a professional manner. We were both lucky to come out of this safely.”
The post-race report confirmed the saddle went backwards on the thoroughbred’s body in the early stages, which caused her to come wide on the final bend.
Another racing enthusiast sympathised with Thornton and said: “Look how far the saddle has slipped back on the horse, incredibly hard to ride a horse out with a saddle that far back.”
A second person added: “Saddle slip all day here. Lucky she stayed on.”
The incident was a rare mishap for Thornton, who is one of the leading female jockeys at the track. She has recorded more than 200 winners in her career and banked more than £4.5 million in prize money.
Thornton’s partner is fellow jockey Ben Thompson – and her Twitter account shows a picture of them together. In October 2021, the female jockey had one of the best strike-rates in Queensland with trainer Tony Gollan, Racenet reported.
“Whenever we have worked together but we have clicked quite well and so have my horses, they run for her so she has been given the opportunities,” he said. “Her partner Ben (Thompson) was getting a good go for us just before he got suspended so it worked out we’ve kept it in the household.”