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Choc Thornton Retires
Sun, Oct 4th, 2015

Robert Thornton called time on his riding career in September 2015. Choc has struggled with injury problems in recent seasons and had been sidelined with a back injury since a fall from Say When on 25 April 2014. He has recorded just one win at the Cheltenham Festival since 2008 and came closest recently on Uxizandre in 2014.

Here he talks to ATR about his decision and career highlights:

He does remain one of the winningmost jockeys at the Cheltenham Festival meeting.

Robert "Choc" Thornton burst onto the Cheltenham Festival scene with two winners while still an apprentice in 1997. These wins were for one of National Hunt racing's legends, trainer David Nicholson. These days Choc rides as stable jockey for the Alan King yard and the pairing have had notable Cheltenham success landing three of the four Cheltenham Festival's feature races.

The World Hurdle came first on My Way De Solzen in 2006, next up was the 2007 Champion Chase on Voy Por Ustedes, with Katchit winning the Champion Hurdle the following year.

Choc is eighth in the table of jockeys ranked by Cheltenham Festival wins since 1945. Choc has ridden sixteen Cheltenham Festival winners.

Robert Thornton Cheltenham Festival Wins

Year

Race

Horse

Trainer

1997

Pertemps

Pharanear

David Nicholson

1997

Kim Muir

King Lucifer

David Nicholson

2004

Festival Trophy

Fork Lightning

Alan King

2005

Festival Trophy

Kelami

Fran├žois Doumen

2005

Triumph

Penzance

Alan King

2005

Alfred Bartlett

Moulin Riche

Fran├žois Doumen

2006

Arkle

Voy Por Ustedes

Alan King

2006

World Hurdle

My Way de Solzen

Alan King

2007

Arkle

My Way de Solzen

Alan King

2007

Champion Chase

Voy Por Ustedes

Alan King

2007

Triumph

Katchit

Alan King

2007

Grand Annual

Andreas

Paul Nicholls

2008

Supreme Novices

Captain Cee Bee

Eddie Harty

2008

Champion Hurdle

Katchit

Alan King

2008

Alfred Bartlett

Nenuphar Collonges

Alan King

2011

Festival Trophy

Bensalem

Alan King

Choc joined National Hunt's 1000 winner club on Araldur at Towcester on March 28 2011.

Robert Thornton Grade 1 Wins

DATE

RACE NAME

HORSE

TRAINER

23-Apr-97

Doncaster Sales Jack White Memorial Flat Race

Arctic Camper

D Nicholson

05-Apr-02

Martell Sefton Novices' Hurdle

Stromness

Alan King

18-Mar-05

JCB Triumph Hurdle

Penzance

Alan King

27-Dec-05

totesport Long Walk Hurdle

My Way De Solzen

Alan King

14-Mar-06

Irish Independent Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase

Voy Por Ustedes

Alan King

16-Mar-06

Ladbrokes World Hurdle

My Way De Solzen

Alan King

13-Mar-07

Irish Independent Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase

My Way De Solzen

Alan King

14-Mar-07

Seasons Holidays Queen Mother Champion Chase

Voy Por Ustedes

Alan King

16-Mar-07

JCB Triumph Hurdle

Katchit

Alan King

12-Apr-07

John Smith's Anniversary 4-Y-O Novices' Hurdle

Katchit

Alan King

11-Mar-08

Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy

Katchit

Alan King

11-Mar-08

Anglo Irish Bank Supreme Novices' Hurdle

Captain Cee Bee

Edward P Harty

14-Mar-08

Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle

Nenuphar Collonges

Alan King

04-Apr-08

John Smith's Melling Chase

Voy Por Ustedes

Alan King

24-Apr-08

Ladbrokes.com World Series Hurdle

Blazing Bailey

Alan King

27-Dec-08

Coral Future Champions Finale Juvenile Hurdle

Walkon

Alan King

14-Feb-09

Betfair Ascot Chase

Voy Por Ustedes

Alan King

02-Apr-09

Matalan Anniversary 4-Y-O Novices' Hurdle

Walkon

Alan King

03-Apr-09

John Smith's Melling Chase

Voy Por Ustedes

Alan King

05-Feb-11

totepool Challengers Novices' Chase

Medermit

Alan King

12-Apr-12

Sefton Novices Hurdle

Lovecen

Alan King

13-Apr-12

4 yo Juvenile Hurdle

Grumeti

Alan King

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