Father-to-be Ben Thompson aims to win the Doncaster Mile
Father-to-be Ben Thompson has done a forensic examination on VHS of Group 1 protagonist The Doncaster Mile as the young jockey hopes to continue the golden year.
Jockey Thompson’s wife Stephanie Thornton announced her pregnancy this week. and it’s another chapter in an exciting 2023 for Thompson, who won his first Group 1 in February with Uncommon James at Oakleigh Plate.
On Saturday, Thompson will have a great chance to double his career in Group 1.
He rides a Protagonist owned by Australian company Bloodstock ($11) for English maestro William Haggas in Doncaster for $4 million.
Almost everything Haggas touches in Sydney turns to gold, and this was the case when Protagonist won the Group 3 Sky High Stakes (2000m) on his Australian debut in Rosehill.
He now drops to 50kg featherweight for Doncaster.
Thompson enters, riding in the shape of his life.
“I have already watched most of his races abroad, he had six starts abroad under the supervision of William Haggas, so I watched all of them and saw all his victories in other races,” said Thompson.
“Looking back at all his form, he never weighed less than 54kg.
“You hear quite a lot that to win at Doncaster you need a hardy horse and a horse that needs to be able to run 1800m and that horse fits the bill and he used to win with 61kg.
“It’s very exciting.”
The Doncaster will be the first time Thompson has raced for Australian team Bloodstock in a Group 1 race.
The protagonist has gained an advantage in the eighth barrier, and Thompson is confident that even with some luck, Haggas’ mighty march Down underground could continue.
“All of his winning form is out of 1900(m), but the way he won the other day was great, jumping and pushing there and making his own luck,” Thompson said.
“He has gone over 2000m quickly and I think he is good for getting down to the high pressure mile.
“The biggest credibility is that he is under the tutelage of William Haggas, I heard on the radio that he had 11 runners in Sydney for seven winners.
“The very fact that he brought this horse here to Australia and marked him as a horse that is good enough to be competitive here is huge.”
The former Victorian Thompson first moved to Queensland for family reasons to be with Thornton, who was on his way to the Sunshine State.
The duo are about to enter the next phase of their lives as parents, with Stephanie expecting their first child in September.
Thompson is thrilled that he is winning big interstate trips in Group 1.
“I moved here to Queensland to be with Steph,” he said.
“It was a decision to move here to be happier.
“When I was in Victoria, because I was walking at lightweight, I got races at big races.
“I wanted it to happen again and I tried to win a big race and it looks like I have great opportunities.”
Originally published as Ben Thompson is aiming to win his second Group 1 of his career at the Doncaster Mile after finding out he is going to be a father.