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banner Friday, 30 March, 2001, 11:00 GMT 12:00 UK
Andrew Thornton
Andrew Thornton
Thornton has enjoyed success at the Cheltenham Festival
Date of birth: 28/10/72
Main trainer: Robert Alner
National best: 4th, St Mellion Fairway, 1998
Winners 1999-2000: 66

Andrew Thornton's career has been full of surprises.

He started out as a teenager at Arthur Stephenson's yard in the north-east of England.

And although the death of the trainer in 1992 was an undoubted blow, Thornton was champion amateur jockey at the end of the season.

When a switch to Kim Bailey at Lambourn failed to produce the expected success, he changed his style of riding.

And within a six-month period, Thornton had bagged two of racing's biggest prizes.

He won the big Christmas race at Kempton, the King George VI Chase, on See More Business in 1997.

Then in March 1998, Thornton picked up the ride on outsider Cool Dawn, who duly obliged in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

He also won on French Holly in the Royal and Sun Alliance Novices Hurdle at the Festival.

But racing has a habit of bringing people down unexpectedly, and two months later Thornton was sidelined with a broken leg following a fall at Fontwell.

That injury kept him out for four months, and a leg infection at the start of 1999 meant he missed several weeks.

Further disappointment came with the death of French Holly, by then an exciting novice chaser, in a schooling accident.

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