Veteran hoop Robert Thompson steered Big Money to victory in the 2014 Ramornie Handicap at Grafton this afternoon to score a record-equaling fourth win in the Listed event.
Big Money started the Ramornie Handicap as a clear favourite and jumped well from barrier one before he was settled on the fence in the middle field of Thompson in the early stages of the race.
Thompson opted to steer Big Money off the fence coming around the final turn and it proved to be a winning move; with the Choisir gelding working home strongly to record a strong win over a brave Rocky King and the talented Territory.
Thompson previously won the Ramornie Handicap on The Jackal (2007 and 2008) and Youthful Jack (2013) and was delighted to win the Listed event for trainer Rod Northam, who he believes has done an outstanding job with Big Money.
“It is really great because Rod and I have been together for a long time now and we have a great association, so it is great to win this race for him,” Thompson said.
“He was always happy in the run and he had seen a bit of a split, I just said come on mate and away he went.
“He is improving all the time, he is only a young horse, very lightly-raced and well looked after.
“He could go on a bit and there could be something a bit special for this bloke down the track.
“It took me thirty years to win one of these and it was one race that I couldn’t win, but in the last ten years I have won four of them.”
Big Money has been in outstanding form since starting his winter campaign; taking out races at Muswellbrook and Scone before finishing a luckless second in the Listed Lightning Handicap (1000m) at Eagle Farm on June 7 and winning the Group 3 W.J. Healy Stakes (1200m) at the same venue a fortnight later.
Northam admitted that the Ramornie Handicap was always the major winter goal for Big Money, but he opted to give the four-year-old a maiden opportunity at Group level in the Healy Stakes because of his outstanding form.
“He is just a real little tryer, he loves winning and that is what gets him to where he is,” Northam said.
“He jumped very well and there was nice speed on, but there wasn’t crazy speed and he travelled up nicely and put it away.
“I was targeting this race and he had done so well and we thought that it (the Healy Stakes) was winnable as well, so we won that as well.
“It has worked out really well.”
Big Money will head to the spelling paddock after his Ramornie Handicap win and could be set for the Group level sprints towards the end of the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival.