Jack Thompson Jockey
Jack Thompson Enters Australian Racing Hall Of Fame In 2005
All-time great Australian jockey Jack Thompson, in addition to compiling a great record that encompasses almost fifty years, has a somewhat dubious claim to fame to go along with his racing accomplishments in experiencing three close seconds in the Melbourne Cup.
One in particular, the 1948 running, is permeated with the irony that it sometimes seems only horse racing can provide.
That year featured the introduction of using a camera to determine the winner in the event of a close finish.
Whilst this technology was instituted in the hopes of eliminating controversy, it instead played the role of creating it.
Jack Thompson And Dark Marne
Jack Thompson was that year riding Dark Marne and had gone off well-supported by punters at 10/1 odds.
At the finish, everyone, punters on the rail, Thompson and other observers as well, felt that Dark Marne had indeed won the close race, beating maximum longshot Rimfire.
The photo proved otherwise, however, but to this day questions longer about whether or not the camera was properly positioned to render a decision.
Six months later, a remarkably similar occurrence in the Australian Cup compelled an adjustment to the positioning of the finish camera, which reignited the eyewitnesses from the Melbourne Cup in declaring that Thompson and Dark Marne had been deprived of the rightful victory.
Whilst record keeping from that era contains the potential for inaccuracies, Jack Thompson is credited with over 3,300 wins-that number is not a typo.
41 of these victories were in races that would eventually be designated as Group 1 when that system of classification was instituted scant years before he retired. This places him ahead of such riders as George Moore, Athol Mulley and Roy Higgins.
Jack Thompson first win came in 1938 on Tamworth. In the 1940-41 season, he became the first apprentice to claim a senior jockeys’ premiership, the first of five, when he brought home 106 winners. His last win came in 1985, at the advanced age of 62 years. He took over 15,000 rides, roughly 300 per year, despite some initial reservations that he was too tall to enjoy success as a jockey.
He was also recognised as the leading apprentice on four occasions to go along with his five senior titles.
His other major victories include four Doncaster Handicaps, two Epsoms, a Golden Slipper Stakes, AJC Derby, Victoria Derby and the Sydney Cup.
Many of the knowledgeable credit Jack Thompson for igniting the career of T.J. Smith, since he rode the Smith trained Bragger to the victory that provided Smith with his very first win. He also was notable for having avoided any negative attention from those centurions of racing propriety, the stewards.
He had the moniker Pokerface in the initial stages of his career, since from looking at him you could gather no insight as to how he had fared in a race.
Jack Thompson later became known for his studious mien as the professor.
After retiring in 1985, Thompson spent some of his remaining time training thoroughbreds at Randwick racecourse. He always maintained, as did many others, with no apparent trace of bitterness, that he had indeed won the 1948 Melbourne Cup.
Thomson had only eight years remaining to him subsequent to his retirement from the saddle.
He was but 70 years of age when he died in 1992, which is the last irony for a rider who had risked life and limb on an almost daily basis for almost 50 years.
Jack Thompson was justifiable inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2005, with no camera necessary to prove him worthy.