Tributes have been paid to jockey Andrew Thornton by those from across the racing industry after he called time on his career at Uttoxeter on Wednesday:
Richard Johnson, jockey
“He has been a fantastic friend and jockey to ride with and to share the weighing room with. He has always been 100 per cent dedicated, but at the same time he has also been there for every other jockey in the weighing room for help and advice.
“Andrew is a great role model for any young jockey coming through. If you work hard like him you can achieve lots of things, as he has shown by having a fantastic career. The main thing is he is a gentleman and someone I’ve learnt a lot off.
“I can’t speak highly enough of him, I don’t think there is anyone in jump racing who would have a bad word to say about him.”
Luke Harvey, former jockey and ITV and ATR presenter
“I was lucky enough to ride against Andrew Thornton and when you are riding and competing against people more than once you would have a cross word with them – but I never had a cross word with him. He is an absolute top man.
“He had his own style and I think he was more Dicky Turpin than Dicky Johnson, but horses did seem to jump for him.
“We rather ridicule him and laugh at him and take the mick out of his style, but to ride over 1,000 winners and many at the highest level is a remarkable achievement and he should be lauded for it.”
Seamus Mullins, trainer
“It’s a sad day really. He has ridden for me for around 25 years, so it has been a long association. We’ve begged to differ a few times, but we’ve never had a cross word.
“I can count on the one hand the amount of indifferent rides he has given for me and he has won on a lot of horses I didn’t think would win.
“He was very supportive of all the young riders I’ve had over the years. He is the ultimate professional and proper gentleman and a hell of a nice bloke.
Harry Skelton, jockey
“He was someone you could always turn to. He is a book of knowledge. His dedication to the game year on year has been amazing. If you thought something hadn’t gone well he would come and approach you and talk to you. That was always a nice feeling when you are younger.
“We are all competitors in there, but we get on great and I hope he has a happy retirement. I’d say he could be as busy in his retirement, as he is such a grafter.”
Daryl Jacob, jockey
“He has been a massive influence to me since I came from Ireland to Robert and Sally Alner. He has given me so much help and support and is a fantastic man to learn from. He is a great man in the country and is very strong at the finish.
“He is an all-round really nice person and will be sadly missed in the weighing room. I owe him a great deal for all the help and advice he gave me when I started with Robert and Sally Alner.”
Dave Roberts, agent
“We started in 1993 after he rode a horse at Worcester that he won on as an amateur and we just got together after that and have been together ever since.
“It has been 25 years of booking him rides and helping him ride 1,000 winners. He has probably ridden for more trainers over the years than anybody, as there is not many he hasn’t ridden for. He is the ultimate professional and he would never turn a ride down.
“You can see by the size of him he has to keep his weight down, which he does. I remember telling him one day Cool Dawn had 10st in a handicap at Ascot and he did it, which led to the Gold Cup win.
“Any jockey coming into this game should get his number and spend a week with him, as they will learn what the job is all about. You can’t fault what he has achieved.”
Bryony Frost, jockey
“Andrew is the sort of person that has bundles of knowledge and when you have messed up or need advice he would be that person to go to, as he explains it so well. He is one of those friendly faces and he will always know what has gone on.
“If you have had a bad day he will say ‘don’t worry about it’ and if you have a winner he is the first one to say the next day, even if he wasn’t there, ‘that was good’.
“I don’t think there is a bad word you can say about him. He is a true professional and for a young kid like me he has been awesome.”
Carl Llewellyn, former jockey
“It was a good time to retire as he has had a great career. He is a fantastic operator and it is lovely for him to have a winner on his last day.
“You can see by the turnout today how highly regarded he is by his fellow jockeys, current and ex.
“He would be the first to admit he wasn’t a stylist, like many of us aren’t, but he was rarely in the wrong place. He could read a race very well and he lost very few races tactically.
“He was well up on all aspects of the game. He was a great operator and had a great work ethic.”