Gemma Thornley stars at Cromwell with winning treble

By Jonny Turner

Franco Norton took Gemma Thornley on an unexpected and explosive ride when winning the Fruit Bowl Handicap at Cromwell yesterday.

The pacer was in need of a super-sub driver when Thornley’s uncle Craig was unable to fulfil his commitments at yesterday’s meeting.

Gemma stepped up when duty called and got the feel of an outstanding pacer in the process.

After being left parked in the middle stages, the junior driver called upon the favourite for a serious effort and he unleashed an explosive burst of speed.

“When I asked him, he just went next level,” Thornley said.

Thornley admitted there was some pressure on her when she was handed the chance to drive the favourite in a feature event.

But eventually it only added to the thrill the reinswoman got from her victory.

“Especially when it is a good race like this, there was a bit of pressure driving a horse like him.”

“It was a last-minute pick-up drive and I was pleased I could deliver.”

Thornley has been in outstanding form in 2022 and it was on show at yesterday’s meeting.

Franco Norton’s win was the middle leg of a winning treble for the junior driver.

Thornley started yesterday’s meeting with a win in race 1 with Superfast Gorsey, trained by her father Chris.

Thornley later scored with the David Mitchell trained Asian Elvis in race 9.

Rough steps late in his effort for second at Cromwell on Friday potentially cost the pacer victory, but Asian Elvis delivered a much more polished display to score yesterday.

Thornley’s victories at Cromwell raised a combined $1800 for women’s cancer research as part of Australasian Harness Racing’s Teal Campaign.

“It was good to get another win for Team Teal and keep making money for a good cause,” Thornley said after her win with Franco Norton.

The reinswoman is in her first year as a Team Teal ambassador and has registered six wins raising a total of $3600 so far in the six-week fundraising campaign.


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