Hall of Famer Robert Thompson broke his Cessnock Cup drought when he steered talent Gosford four-year-old Invicta to the narrowest of victory’s in the 2017 Royal Oak Hotel Cessnock Cup on Friday. It was 22 years ago that Thompson won his fifth Cessnock Cup aboard the mare Lees trained Hot Aussie. Invicta is the only horse that sixty-eight-year-old Gosford trainer Ken Parker has in work.
The gelding struck a purple patch of form last preparation when he won three on the trot at Cessnock, Newcastle and Warwick farm. He needed the run when down the course first up at Warwick Farm on November 11. Invicta was the class runner of the Cup field, however a huge plunge on the Warwick Farm trained Tycoon Mar ($3.90 to $2.70) saw the winners price drift from $2.20 to $3.30. Grafton apprentice Olivia Pickering took the topweight I’m Danny to the front when the gates opened and the bold front runner was rated perfectly by the young lady. Invicta as is the norm, settled back in the field and Thompson made his move near the home turn. However, I’m Danny had skipped away with what appeared a winning lead half way down the straight. Invicta hit top gear ion the last 100 metres and nailed I’m Danny on the line to win by a nose.
Thompson has had five rides on Invicta for four wins and unlucky third. The champion jockey is so passionate about his home town and he now has six Cessnock Cups and eleven Jungle Juice Cups in his trophy cabinet. “It has been a long time coming but I am so happy to win another home town Cup. All credit to Ken Parker as he has done a great job with the horse. Invicta needs a good tempo to unwind and the race wasn’t really run to suit him today. It was a gusty win and he will improve out of sight with that run under his belt.” RT said.
Parker a fine horseman was riding trackwork at eleven years of age for his father on Sydney’s old Rosebery track. He moved to the Central Coast and has trained pacers and thoroughbreds. “I was confident that Invicta would win the Cup despite him not being at his top yet. He is a very strong horse with a great will to win. His owner Bob Gurr paid $10,000 for him and he has been a work in progress. Invicta has won more than $90,000 on the track. Robert Thompson understands the horse so well and he has such a great rider.” Parker said.
Josh Adams took the riding honours for the day with an early double. He had an armchair ride on the Todd Howlett trained speedster All Stand in the opening event the Hit 106.9 Boxing Day Races Class 2 (900m). All Stand hit the ground running to lead all the way in a sizzling 49.56. Two races later Adams piloted Soolaimon to victory in the Tyrrells Wines Maiden Plate (1570m) for Paul Perry.