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Robert Thornton (jockey)

File:Robert thornton jockey closeup.jpg
Robert Thornton on Kandjar D'Allier during the 2007 WBX Rehearsal Chase on Fighting Fifth Hurdle day

Robert "Choc" Thornton (born 14 July 1978 in Darlington)[1] is an English National Hunt jockey currently employed as stable jockey to Alan King.

Robert "Chocolate" Thornton (known as Choc)[2] is one of the United Kingdom's leading National Hunt jockeys. After growing up riding hunters with his father (a noted professional Huntsman) he started working for master trainer David Nicholson. He started riding for 'the Duke' as an amateur and after immediate success became an apprentice riding 71 winners during his first season in the sport. Having started as an amateur attached to David Nicholson's yard at Jackdaws Castle, near Stow-on-the Wold, in 1997, he won the Conditional Jockey's title the following year.

Since making his professional debut, Thornton’s performance has been consistent, if unspectacular, and he has consistently featured in the top 10 of the British Jumps Jockey Championship. Thornton’s most successful season to date was the 2007/2008-season, during which he broke the 100-winner barrier for the first time, by winning 105 of his 597 races. Robert Thornton shies away from the spotlight most notably and correctly he will not talk to the television cameras until he has spoken to his owners and trainer.

Now, having joined Alan King, "Choc" has been the leading English jockey in 2005 and 2006 in a profession dominated by the Irish.

Robert Thornton’s greatest achievements are all linked to the Cheltenham Festival, at which the English jockey has shown a knack for riding winners in major hurdles races. He has the wonderful ability of keeping most of his rides in the race and putting them in a position to win if they are good enough. Thornton won his first Cheltenham Festival feature race in 2006, when he rode My Way de Solzen to victory in the World Hurdle.

Thornton has since won the Champion Hurdle, Triumph Hurdle and taken a second World Hurdle title. He has also achieved good results in some of the Cheltenham Festival’s most prestigious chases, winning the Queen Mother Champion Chase on Voy Por Ustedes in 2007, and the Arkle Challenge Trophy in the same year. Thornton won the Top Jockey title at the Cheltenham Festival in 2007, by riding 4 winners during the meeting. In 2008 he rode three winners including a notable 1st day double. [3]

He is unrelated to the jockey Andrew Thornton.

His worst moment in racing was when Strong Promise died in the 2000 Martel Cup at Liverpool.


  1. BBC Sport - Racing at Cheltenham
  2. Chocthornton.com - Jockey's Personal Website
  3. Horse & Hound - Cheltenham Summary

See also

List of jockeys


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