Thompson to ride favourite I've Got the Looks in Ramornie
WHEN one door closes another usually opens. Just ask champion jockey Robert Thompson.
The Hall Of Fame jockey looked in danger of not having a mount in the $150,000 Crowe Horwath Ramornie (1200m) at Grafton today when trainer Rodney Northam elected not to accept with last year's winner, Big Money.
Enter Peter and Paul Snowden.
Peter Snowden heard of Thompson's availability and rang after acceptances were taken on Monday to snap up the Cessnock-based rider.
Thompson now has a second-to-none chance of marching into the record books by winning the time-honoured event, first staged in 1910, aboard race favourite I've Got The Looks.
Thompson and CD "Skeeter" Kelly hold the Ramornie riding record with four wins apiece.
Amazingly it took Thompson the best part of 30 years to finally win the Clarence River Jockey Club feature sprint.
That came in 2007 aboard the Paul St Vincent trained The Jackal.
The pair repeated the dose the following year then Thompson was successful aboard Youthful Jack for good mate Ross Stitt in 2013 and on Big Money last year.
Kelly's wins came on Trovatore in 1955-56, Blue Dart (1958) and Glanceful (1959).
Thompson, who missed the first day of the XXXX Gold July Racing Carnival, will be super keen to win the sprint after being narrowly beaten on Darci Magic in last Sunday's South Grafton Cup.
He claimed the gelding's tendency to lay in over the latter stages proved costly for the Bede Murray-trained galloper.
Peter Snowden has already won two Ramornie's with Pinwheel (2010) and Jerezana (2011) during his time as head trainer for Sheikh Mohammed's Darley (now Godolphin).
"It would be lovely to win a third Ramornie, especially with Paul (his co-trainer son)," Snowden said.
"I would have liked I've Got The Looks to draw a bit better (barrier 11) but there's nothing we can do about that. We're lucky to have Robert aboard. We just need some luck and a good ride from Robert."
I've Got the Looks has been freshened for 46-days since a three start Brisbane campaign when the five-year-old mare won two Listed races before her 3.1 lengths eighth to Peace Force in the Glenlogan at Doomben on May 23.
"She's freshened up nicely," Snowden said.
"She came home and remained in the stables. I've just kept her ticking over.
"Her work on Saturday morning was excellent. It told me she is right on track."