Andrew Thornton achieved his long-held dream of riding 1,000 domestic winners when completing a double at Wincanton.
The 44-year-old joined an elite list that includes Sir Anthony McCoy, Richard Johnson, Richard Dunwoody and Peter Scudamore when finally achieving the landmark after a career that began 26 years ago.
Both his winners, Somchine and Kentford Myth, were for a great supporter in trainer Seamus Mullins.
Thornton had fortune on his side as Kentford Myth was gifted the lead three out when the clear leader Antarctic De Thaix fell. The six-year-old went on to beat Mollyanna, who was the only other finisher after four had set out in the Bathwick Tyres EBF/TBA Mares’ Novices’ Chase.
Thornton had made it 999 on Somchine in the Armishaws Removals Mid Season Handicap Chase.
It was pretty straightforward after the eight-year-old jumped into the lead at the second-last fence. Clear over the final obstacle, Somchine won cosily by five lengths from the 6-4 favourite Dusty Lark.
Thornton had been stuck on 996 after breaking his collarbone in October, but that did not deter him from his quest and the last three winners he needed came in quick succession.
Win number 998 came on Barton Gift at Bangor on Thursday and he reached the magic figure when racing resumed after the short Christmas break.
Thornton had his first ride in November 1990, but had to wait 12 months for his first winner at Sedgefield.
His 1,000th winner was coming exactly 19 years to the day he won the King George VI Chase at Kempton on See More Business for Paul Nicholls in 1997.
In 1998 Thornton won the Cheltenham Gold Cup for Robert Alner on Cool Dawn, while he also enjoyed a fruitful association with the brilliant but ill-fated French Holly.
Trained by Ferdy Murphy, French Holly won the Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown, the Royal & SunAlliance Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham and the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton in 1998, before finishing third to Istabraq in the following year’s Champion Hurdle.
He won his only novice chase in October 1999 but died in an accident on the gallops just a few days later.
Mullins said: “It’s a marvellous achievement for him and so nice that he did it on one of my horses and for my longest-standing owner, Ian Bare, as well. The three of us go back about 20 years or so.
“It was an up and down day. I lost a nice horse in the previous race, Western Cape, then Andrew rides his 1,000th winner and when he jumped off he twisted his knee and was stood down for the rest of the day.”