Cheltenham Festival 202412 – 15 March 2024

Andrew Thornton

Andrew Thornton is a retired National Hunt jockey.

Early life

He was born on 28 October 1972 in Cleveland and schooled at Barnard Castle School in County Durham. He is not related to another English jockey, Robert Thornton.

Riding career

He rode mainly for Caroline Bailey and Seamus Mullins, he was stable jockey for Robert Alner for many years as well as riding for plenty of other trainers over the years. Thornton was one of the very few National Hunt jockeys who wore contact lenses while riding and it is for this reason that he acquired the nicknames “”””Lensio”””” and “”””Blindman””””. Thornton rode his 1000th winner on Kentford Myth at Wincanton on 26 December 2016.

Despite having to endure many setbacks and injuries throughout his career, by 2012 Thornton was widely regarded as one of the best jumps jockeys around. He was also very highly respected among his weighing room colleagues.

Because Thornton was taller than the average jump jockey, he was forced to ride very low in the stirrups. It was not always attractive to look at but it rarely failed to get the job done. The benefits of his riding style were also highlighted by the record Thornton had in staying handicap chases and staying handicap hurdle races. He was able to push along from a mile out and galvanise the horse. His strength was seen in many exciting finishes when he looked beaten turning for home. On 6 June 2018, Thornton retired from racing.

Notable horses

Thornton rode many horses including Cool Dawn, Gingembre and See More Business to victory in many a big race as well as 8-time winner French Holly who won two Grade 1s and only just failed to win the Champion Hurdle in 1999 when beaten by Istabraq. His death in a schooling accident in the Winter of 1999 was a major disappointment to Thornton.

Achievements and awards

He rode major winners for Robert Alner, Seamus Mullins, Evan Williams, Ian Williams, Jamie Poulton, Paul Nicholls, Mary Reveley, John Spearing, Lavina Taylor, Ferdy Murphy and TA Forster.

Cheltenham Festival winners

Grade 1 winners

Other notable winners