Robert Thornton (jockey)
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Robert "Chocolate" Thornton (known as Choc) 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. 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 and Triumph Hurdle. 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.  Thornton rode his 1,000th career winner on Araldur at Towcester on March 28, 2011.
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.
Cheltenham Festival Winners
1997 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup - King Lucifer
1997 Pertemps Final - Pharanear
2004 William Hill National Hunt Handicap Chase - Fork Lightning
2005 William Hill Trophy Handicap Chase - Kelami
2005 Triumph Hurdle - Penzance
2006 Arkle Challenge Trophy - Voy Por Ustedes
2006 World Hurdle - My Way de Solzen
2007 Arkle Challenge Trophy - My Way de Solzen
2007 Queen Mother Champion Chase - Voy Por Ustedes
2007 Triumph Hurdle - Katchit
2007 Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase - Andreas
2008 Supreme Novices' Hurdle - Captain Cee Bee
2008 Champion Hurdle - Katchit
2008 Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle - Nenuphar Collonges
2011 Stewart Family Spinal Research Handicap Chase - Bensalem
- BBC Sport - Racing at Cheltenham
- Chocthornton.com - Jockey's Personal Website
- Horse & Hound - Cheltenham Summary
- "Jockey Robert Thornton lands 1,000th career win". news.bbc.co.uk. 28 March 2011. Retrieved 29 March 2011.