CHAMPION Cessnock jockey Robert Thompson has his fingers crossed for a good barrier on Wednesday as he chases an elite country double in the inaugural The Kosciuszko (1200 metres) on Saturday.
The Australian Racing Hall of Fame member and the nation’s winningest jockey claimed the $200,000 Anniversary Handicap for country-trained horses with After All That last year on the Everest program at Randwick.
On Saturday, Thompson will team up with the Rod Northam-trained galloper for the inaugural $1.3 million Kosciuszko, which is again a race for country horses.
The seven-year-old Scone gelding earned his spot in the field with an impressive fourth in the group 2 Shorts and Thompson was thrilled to be involved with another breakthrough event for country racing.
“He deserves his run in it and all we need is a good barrier now hopefully and he should run well for us,” Thompson said.
“We sort of won this race last year on Everest day when it was called the Anniversary Highway. It will be a tougher field this time around though.”
The prospect of a wet track was no worry for Thompson.
“He’ll go through anything, he’ll be OK,” he said.
When securing the slot, Northam said Thompson would be aboard for the Kosciuszko.
“Robert has done a lot of work with him and we’re good mates,” Northam said. “He’s as much of the training process as anything. He trials him and lets me know how he’s going.”
Another Scone trainer, Brett Cavanough, has The Monstar in the race.