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Jack Thompson legendary jockey

Jack Thompson jockey

This photo of a youthful Jack Thompson ( born in Cessnock) was taken in 1939 when he was just 18. It was also the year he won the Summer Cup on a horse called Bunga.

He rode in Australian races for nearly 50 years and rode his last winner in Wyong in 1985.

He won a Golden Slipper, the AJC and Victoria Derbies, four Doncaster Handicaps, two Epsom Handicaps, and a Sydney Cup.

He never won a Melbourne Cup but did run three close seconds.

In his long career he had ridden 3322 winners, including 41 at Group I level.

To put Thompson's riding record into perspective, his winners have to be compared with some of the greatest.

The late George Moore, considered to have no peer in the saddle, had more records to his name than The Beatles.

Moore returned from a two-and-a-half-year suspension in 1956, and from then until he retired in 1971 he had 3403 rides in Sydney for 1040 wins, 620 seconds and 447 thirds.

Athol George Mulley, who is best known for his association with Bernborough, said before his death that he never kept records but reckoned he rode "about 2000 winners".

Roy Higgins, regarded as a champion, rode for 30 years, had 2312 winners and won the Melbourne jockeys premiership 11 times.

In 1948 the photo finish was introduced to Australian racing and of course to the Cup. Its beginnings are somewhat dubious in the fact that the finish of the that year's Cup was a very close encounter. The well backed Dark Marne 10/1 went to the line locked with Rimfire, a 66/1 outsider.

To those punters on the line and to the jockey, Jack Thompson on Dark Marne, it appeared his well backed horse had burst through on the rails to win. To the cheers of bookmakers however Rimfire was announced the winner after the photo verdict and the questions ensued. Was the camera set up correctly and was there an error in its placement and this created an inaccurate angle?

Six months later at the Australian Cup meeting another controversy occurred and an adjustment was then made to the position of the to this day arguments still continue. Eyewitnesses swear "blind" that the Dark Marne won the day and jockey Jack Thompson can consider himself very unlucky not be in the Melbourne Cup winners list.











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