THEY were once fierce rivals on the race track, but today Alan Scorse and Robert Thompson will team up for an important assignment.
Scorse, who was a multiple group1-winning jockey, trains Top Destination, which he hopes can win the $22,000 Boxing Day Cup (1800m) on his home track at Broadmeadow.
The cup is the feature event on Newcastle’s traditional huge Boxing Day meeting.
Scorse believes he has the right horse and, just as important, the right jockey in Thompson to win the cup.
Thompson has ridden more winners in Australian racing than any other rider.
He continued his quest to get to the magic 4000 mark when he won on Conroy’s Gap at Taree on Sunday.
As well as Top Destination, the 54-year-old Thompson has three other rides today. He must be on the very short list to be the next jockey inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame next year.
‘‘I rode enough against Robbie to know that if you put him on the right horse, then he is hard to beat, whether it is at Randwick or at a bush meeting,’’ Scorse said.
‘‘Robbie has been riding my mare for a while now and he keeps telling me she has ability. It would be a great thrill for both of us to win a cup race at Newcastle on such a big day.
‘‘The crowd flocks to Broadmeadow on Boxing Day and I just hope they are cheering us home for a local victory.’’
Top Destination is third favourite in pre-post betting for the Boxing Day Cup after two good runs from a spell.
The four-year-old mare has had just 10 starts for a win and three placings and is showing that the 1850m of today’s race will be perfect for her.
She stormed home to win at Newcastle first up over 1300m on November 20.
Top Destination then again came from well back to finish fourth over 1600m at Gosford on December 6. She has been placed over 2100m at Wyong and has run over the 1850m at Newcastle.
Thompson has been on her at four of her past five starts.
‘‘Robbie knows her really well now and he keeps telling me she will make the grade as a stayer,’’ Scorse said.
‘‘She just needed time to mature, but now this preparation she is showing how good she might be. She was going really well before her first-up win. We fancied her that day and she got the job done.
‘‘Last start at Gosford they just went too slow up front for her to finish the race off. Hopefully they might get along on Wednesday and also the extra distance might ensure she could be a little bit closer in the run.’’