Stephanie Thornton rides Wise Hero to victory at Flemington (Image: Racing Photos)
New Year’s Day will always be a landmark day for Stephanie Thornton and even more so after she rode a superb front-running ride on Wise Hero to land the Straight Draw Handicap at Flemington.
Thornton was just 16 when she partnered Cherry Fiasco to her first ever winner at Burrumbeet on New Year’s Day in 2016 and victory on Monday aboard Wise Hero marked her first win at racing’s headquarters.
‘’I didn’t think I would be here riding my first Flemington winner two years ago,’’ Thornton said after unsaddling. ‘’I was pretty green and pretty inexperienced.’’
Thornton has made a dramatic rise up the premiership ladders in both the metropolitan and country areas over the past six months. Her win on Wise Hero is her 11th in Melbourne for the season, placing her 12th on the metropolitan ladder.
Wise Hero’s win was Thornton’s 82nd of her career but she has had 31 winners in Victoria since the start of August and that has her placed equal 13th in the state. Her older brother Damien is 10th with 37 season winners.
Wise Hero’s trainer John Price was keen to praise Thornton’s handling of Wise Hero, who was backed late from $4 to start the $3.30 favourite despite rising from 1000 metres to the 1400 metre trip for the first time.
‘’We didn’t want to lead but we were also aware there wasn’t a lot of pace in the race and I thought Stephanie rode him superbly,’’ Price said.
‘’She summed it up well and rated him perfectly.’’
Wise Hero, who was a $10,000 yearling purchase, now has four wins from his seven starts with earnings of more than $275,000 but Price said hopes were high that he would keep improving and make the grade in stronger races.
‘’He’s an early December foal so is just starting to come of age,’’ he said. ‘’He could be a bit better than what he has shown in the past.’’
Wise Hero had a length-and-a-quarter break on the fast-finishing runner-up Just Hifalutin ($4.20) with a length break to the third placegetter King Kohei ($61).