Hoops’ Cup dream just beginning


The race that stops a nation has been run and won for another year, but for a growing number of jockeys their Melbourne Cup dream is just beginning.

Several prominent hoops including Jye McNeil, Harry Coffey, Ben Allen, Mark Zahra and Patrick Moloney have formed a syndicate with Ben Thompson, son of leading trainer Seona Thompson. They purchased two beautifully bred bitches by Kinloch Brae, now 15 months old, and should hit the track in the first half of 2018.

Ben Thompson, who has ridden 25 winners this season to lead all Victorian apprentices, has already enjoyed success in the TAB Melbourne Cup having handled 2012 winner Got A Moment when just 15 years of age.

“Dad had two runners in the Cup and he gave me the longshot, Got A Moment and she happened to win the race,” said Thompson.

“I had just started riding track work at the time and had a few of the racing crew there. To say I strapped the Melbourne Cup winner is any jockey’s goal.”

Being the son of one of the country’s most prominent greyhound racing families has naturally led many fellow hoops to enquire about his parent’s team.

“You’d be surprised at how many of the other jocks follow the dogs, sometimes they’re more up to date than me with how the team is going. I get to go to the dogs every now and then, it’s a good night out.”

Syndicate member Jye McNeil is looking forward to seeing the pups get to the track and being part of a day at the greyhounds.

“It’s going to be cool once they get to the races,” he said.

“Obviously we’ll try and get there to watch it and get amongst it.”

The heats of the TAB Melbourne Cup will be run on Friday 17 November with the winner of each heat progressing to the final of the world’s richest greyhound race on Friday 24 November. 

Star apprentice jockey Ben Thompson discusses handling a greyhounds Melbourne Cup winner, and the excitement a growing number of hoops experience in the sport
Mick Floyd
About Mick Floyd - Mick is the Racing and Media Manager at Sandown Park. He's spent over a decade promoting the sport of greyhound racing, and claims to be Fernando Bale's biggest fan
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