Ben Thompson, son of greyhound trainers Jason and Seona of Pearcedale, has taken the world by storm in his role as an apprentice jockey.
Thompson, 18, is currently overseas representing Australia in the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak (IFAHR) Apprentice World Championship in Kentucky and on Sunday he rode to victory.
The unique series pits apprentice jockeys against each other on purebred Arabian gallopers in a contest that spans six continents and eight countries with the final to be held at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club on November 8 this year. The victory assured Ben of a ride in the final.
Thompson’s pedigree in racing is well-known and his journey as a jockey begun in 2013 when he joined Racing Victoria’s apprenticeship program. When he joined the program he had been riding for less than a year but he has already made a big name for himself.
Speaking on RSN’s Racing Ahead, Thompson said it has been an amazing ride already.
“It was [a thrill] obviously when I was first given the call up to be given an opportunity not only to fly overseas but to go to Kentucky which is renowned for being horse heaven. To come out as victor was a bonus.”
“It [the trip to America] has been the experience of my life. I’m very lucky to be an apprentice in Victoria.”
Thompson had to contend with riding a different type of horse than he was used to as well, making the victory even more impressive.
“I was one of two apprentices that hadn’t ridden Arabians before which was a bit of an eye opener… they might look the same to the average Joe Blow but on feel it’s very different.”
One of Thompson’s best moments in greyhound racing was when he handled Got A Moment in the 2012 Melbourne Cup. His exploits as a jockey may soon see him riding in the thoroughbred equivalent of the race.