A large crowd excitedly watches on as jockey Robert Thompson steers Southern Shimmer between stablemate Single Spirit and pre-race favourite Disciple to win the Carlton MID 2014 Coffs Harbour Gold Cup. Photo: Trevor Veale / Coffs Coast Advocate
A large crowd excitedly watches on as jockey Robert Thompson steers Southern Shimmer between stablemate Single Spirit and pre-race favourite Disciple to win the Carlton MID 2014 Coffs Harbour Gold Cup. Photo: Trevor Veale / Coffs Coast Advocate Trevor Veale

Long wait for a Cup win is over

5.00PM: COFFS Harbour Gold Cup champion Robert Thompson has admitted he had no choice of which horse he'd be riding in the 2014 race.

He knew trainer Ross Stitt had three starters but only discovered he'd be in the saddle of old favourite Southern Shimmer when the telephone rang.

"Ross called and said you're on the black horse and that was good enough for me," the jockey said..

"I knew the others were great chances but this horse has always been good to me and I knew we'd be hard to beat."

There's a reason why jockeys like Thompson ride so many winners.

Simply, they have an uncanny knack of staying out of trouble or making the right decisions that change the fortunes of owners, trainers and punters in the twinkling of an eye.

As the field approached the 700m mark, Thompson had problems on his plate.

The pace wasn't suiting Southern Shimmer and the old horse began to race ungenerously.

"The pace slowed and my bloke began to pull, wanting to quicken up," Thompson said.

"Fortunately I got him balanced again and had cover from Ross's other bloke, Single Spirit.

"He gave us a cart up and I came off his back when it was time to go and he just ran beautiful for the rest."

Trainer Stitt said he, the horse and Thompson will attempt to win his hometown cup race in Taree in a couple of weeks.

"I know Robert has knocked me off two or three times on other horses over the years but I think it's time we got together and won one," Stitt said.

4.10PM: JOCKEY Robert Thompson has won more races than any other jockey in Australian history but today's Carlton MID 2014 Coffs Harbour Gold Cup win was a long time coming.

Thompson steered the Ross Stitt trained Southern Shimmer home in front of a packed Coffs Harbour Racing Club crowd, edging out a fast finishing pre-race favourite Disciple.

This was Thompson's first win in the Gold Cup since 1983 when Justkez was first past the post.

Southern Shimmer had not raced for nearly two years due to a tendon problem.

The Coffs Harbour Gold Cup was only the second start for Southern Shimmer since returning from injury and Stitt's first Coffs Harbour Gold Cup trainer's trophy was his reward for the herculean effort.

Stitt only narrowly missed out on getting the quinella in the big race with Single Spirit fighting doggedly in the final furlong only to be edged out by hisstablemate and a fast finishing Disciple who was near last at the 800 metre mark before making a wide move that almost paid handsome dividends for jockey Jason Collett and trainer Chris Waller.

CARLTON MID 2014 COFFS HARBOUR GOLD CUP

Posn No. Horse Win Place
1st 5 Southern Shimmer 4.50 1.90
2nd 2 Disciple   1.90
3rd 3 Single Spirit   2.00
4th 10 Champagne Rock    

From the inside gate Southern Shimmer was a touch slow out of the barriers but within 400 metres Thompson had steered him up the rail to sit midfield and within striking distance of the leaders.

Turning for home, Thompson steered the Southern Image gelding off the rail and steadied up for the run home four wide on the outside of Single Spirit and inside Disciple.

The trio had a battle royale for the finish line after seeing off the brave local hope Champagne Rock which was leading with only 100 metres of the journey to complete.



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