By Kobie O'Brien
Apprentice Adin Thompson will be looking to capitalise on a strong start to his provincial career with six chances at Rockhampton’s Friday meet.
A resilient Thompson, 17, fell agonisingly short of a treble at Cairns on Tuesday, and despite a mishap in the first costing him a likely victory, the young hoop went on to ride two winners. and finished in the money on three more.
Thompson already has seven wins to his name since being granted a provincial licence, evidently making the most of his opportunity at the Townsville track.
Thompson’s career has been kick-started with the help of premier country trainer Bevan ‘Billy' Johnson, whose stable has also mentored country premiership winner, Dakota Graham.
“Mel and Billy have always been family friends, I actually started off my career with a different trainer for a bit but I had to go somewhere with a few more horses,” Thompson said.
Thompson sits second on the country apprentices’ premiership and admits it has been a big ‘step-up’ taking on the role as Johnson’s first-choice rider.
However, it has been Johnson’s champion country horses that have helped shaped his career, including Fab’s Cowboy (Battle of the Bush finalist) and Blue Jest (Birdsville Cup winner).
“Fab’s (Cowboy) would be my favourite horse to ride, I’ve won probably 8 or 9 races on him with 6 or 7 being cups races,” Thompson said.
“Birdsville (cup) would be my definitely be career highlight.”
With his immediate success around the provincial circuits, the gun apprentice is now caught between a rock and a hard place; does he continue showcasing his skills on the TAB stage, or, pursue a maiden country apprentices’ premiership?
“Since I started it’s always been a goal to win that premiership,” he said.
“I would like to win it this year but for me it’s more about getting those rides in the bigger races and on the bigger race days.”
While he is ambitions and striving to go on to bigger and better things, Thompson admits he will need to do his time before looking to the future.
“I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself and I’m hoping things slide into place for me before I make a big decision,” he said.
“I’m looking to go to Brisbane eventually or down south somewhere, that’s where I’d like to go but you know that will all take time and hopefully it will all fall into place when its ready.”
Thompson has been dealt a strong hand on the Rocky card when his day kicks off on Don’t We Love It for John O’Sing before he rides the ex-Sunshine Coast galloper Beat Street (Ben Waldron).
He’ll then partner Stormina (Stephen Rundle), Meatball (Ben Waldron), Mountain Retreat (Barry Fitzgerald) and Lucifer’s Angel (Dennis Shultz).
Thompson joins a strong crop of apprentices coming through the ranks including Maddy Wishart and Thomas Doyle, who recently scored a win in his first ride at the provincials in Rockhampton.
Thompson backs up for five rides at Townsville on Saturday before travelling to Kilcoy on Sunday.