The irrepressible Robert Thompson became the first Australian jockey to ride 4000 winners after booting home Lay Down The Law at Newcastle on Saturday. The Cessnock-based jockey crept closer to the milestone after a treble at Muswellbrook on Friday and needed only one of his two scheduled rides at Newcastle to reach the landmark. Many thought he might have to wait until taking three rides at Mudgee on Sunday or a near full book at Quirindi on Monday, but Thompson had other ideas. He drove home Pam Webber’s Lay Down The Law in a benchmark-60 handicap over 1850metres to reach his 4000th winner only two starts after racking up No.3999. Thompson, who rode his first winner as a 14-year-old in 1973, vowed to reach the milestone after his father Arthur died last year. He surpassed Jack Thompson’s Australian record of 3322 wins in 2008 and has been a constant on the country and provincial circuits for more than 40 years. And he doesn’t plan to stop any time soon after vowing to keep riding while ever he’s ‘‘fit and healthy’’.
Hurrara hangs tough
Garry Frazer hasn’t given up chasing black-type success with Hurrara after his tough sprinter outlasted Ichihara to win the Hawkesbury Rush on his home track. ‘‘He’s got good form and he’s a pretty under-rated horse,’’ Frazer said. ‘‘He carries 60 kilos and wins [other races] and if he gets into a nice race in the right conditions he will be very hard to beat. We’ll have a look at Scone [Ortensia Stakes] and after that we’ll pick and choose throughout the winter.’’ Linda Meech took over from Claire Nutman on Hurrara ($9.50), sitting outside Ichihara ($4.60) before edging clear in the straight. But Ichihara rallied on the inside before just failing to reel in the winner. ‘‘He gave me a good kick at the top of the straight when I needed it and he held it all the way to the line,’’ Meech said. ‘‘I was worried [he would be beaten], but he just kept pulling out enough.’’
Harmonic on song
Tony McEvoy has only one reservation about running the progressive Harmonic in the $200,000 Scone Cup after he bolted in at Hawkesbury on Saturday. ‘‘I just hope it doesn’t come up too quick on him,’’ dual-state trainer McEvoy said after winning on his home track in the benchmark-80 handicap over 1500 metres. ‘‘He’s a horse that likes time between runs and that’s the only [problem]. If he doesn’t really bounce out of this race then we won’t do it. He’s a nice horse and he’s got good talent.’’ Harmonic took full advantage of Liberty’s Choice free-wheeling out in front with Jim Cassidy’s cause not helped by the riderless horse Rowie, which had dumped Yusuke Ichikawa shortly after the start, applying further pressure. Connections indicated Liberty’s Choice is likely to be gelded after weakening to finish seventh. Harmonic swept to the lead a long way from home and then gapped his rivals. Casino Dancer was 4lengths away in second. ‘‘Today he went to another level,’’ jockey Tim Clark said. ‘‘It was a strong enough race and they went at a real solid clip. He dragged a few of them up, but he was just way too good for them.’’
Srikandi fills stocking
Continual improvement has been the hallmark of Melbourne-trained filly Srikandi, which blitzed her rivals to win the $150,000 Silk Stocking (1200m) at the Gold Coast on Saturday. Srikandi’s win in the listed race took her record to four wins and a second from just five starts. ‘‘Gee, she just keeps improving,’’ trainer Ciaron Maher said. ‘‘We had no real plans to go real deep, we’re just trying to get some black type next to her name. It was always one step at a time but after this we might have to have a look at the Queensland Guineas.’’ The $350,000 Queensland Guineas is a group 2 race over 1400m at Eagle Farm on May 31. Jockey Glen Boss was also impressed by the daughter of Irish stallion Dubawi. ‘‘She won very soft,’’ Boss said. ‘‘She’s a nice filly, a progressive filly. Obviously she handled the heavy going well and she is a filly on the way up.’’ Boss said Srikandi, which led for most of the race, got to the lead and ‘‘relaxed beautifully’’. ‘‘She was going to win a long way from home,’’ he said. Srikandi was bred and syndicated by John Collins in New Zealand. ‘‘We always had an opinion of her,’’ Maher said. ‘‘She’s just kept improving and it will be interesting to see how far she can go.’’ Srikandi started at $4 and beat La Pieta ($7) with West Australian mare Platinum Rocker ($4.40) third. Platinum Rocker’s first-up performance was full of merit as she was unsuited on the heavy 8 surface.
with Tony White