Sam Thornley brings up 100 wins
by Jonny Turner
It didn't look great early, but the end result was perfect as Sam Thornley won his 100th race in the sulky in New Zealand at Marlborough on Friday.
Muscle Bank overcame a slow beginning when producing an outstanding performance to win for Thornley and trainer Tom Bamford.
Thornley was not only thrilled to bring up his milestone victory, he was impressed with his trotter's big effort to score.
"It was a big run because she missed away and she was so far from them."
"When they went so hard early I was a long way off the leaders."
"But they came back to us a bit and when I hooked her out she sprinted up really good."
"It was a great win."
Thornley's 100-win breakthrough comes at a defining time in his career.
Just a matter of days prior, the reinsman finished second in the 2023 Junior Driver's Premiership behind Sarah O'Reilly.
O'Reilly is now out of the junior ranks, leaving Thornley as much chance as anyone to chase down the 2024 title.
Thornley's ton has also came shortly after his move to work for the Ken Barron stable.
With a 1000-race winning driver in Barron and a multiple premiership winner and 2000-race winning driver in Blair Orange to work with, Thornley is thrilled with where his career is at.
"It is really great to get the 100 wins."
"Things are going really well for me at the moment, working with Ken Barron and Blair Orange."
“They are great to work with and I’m learning a lot.”
The junior premiership is a goal for Thornley in 2024, as is chasing down 50 wins after producing 47 victories in 2023.
"I'll be doing my best to get as many wins as I can, but it would be good if I could get 50 this year."
"I will be doing a bit of travelling and hoping to build up my drives and do a few trips."
Thornley could edge further towards his 50-win target when he reunites Muscle Bank at Marlborough on Sunday.
The mare looks a big chance of adding to the reinsman's 100 wins in the Marlborough Trotters Cup.
As well as his 100 wins in New Zealand, Thornley has a further three to his name in Australia.