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Bonnie’s Back and Ready for Business
Popular jockey Bonnie Thomson almost called it quits on a 25 year career, but instead she’s using a frustrating six months on the sidelines with injury to motivate her comeback.
Thomson, 43, will continue her return to the saddle with two rides at Cluden Park on Saturday, but riding again was never a sure thing.
The Townsville-based mother of three, who also holds a trainers’ license, admitted she contemplated retirement during the long, slow recovery from a shattered right leg suffered at trackwork mid last year.
“I had some self-doubt and I think at my age that’s only natural,” Thomson said.
“At one stage I didn’t think I would ride again but people said ‘you’re mad.’ ‘If nothing else do it for yourself’.
“I took out the trainers’ license for when I give up riding and I want more time with the kids (Jenna, Cooper and Dustin).
“In the end I decided to give it another go and make the most of it.
“I’ve been a jockey for 25 years and it’s so much harder coming back from the injuries. It’s the recovery that’s the tough part.
“But I’ve put in a lot of hard work, a lot of physio – I’m still going twice a week - and I’m getting there. I still have a few little issues but it’s good to be back riding again.
“Those six months were very frustrating, not being able to ride, especially my own.
“I had to pay work riders, and employ people to do work at the stables, things that I’d normally do.
“I know how trainers whinge about jockeys – I can say I understand that better,” Thomson said with a laugh.
The popular hoop was sidelined in July last year after suffering serious leg injuries in a freak accident at trackwork.
She was kicked in the right leg while riding a horse onto the track through the walkway at Cluden.
Thomson’s injuries included a broken tibia and fibula and detached ligaments – torn away by the force of the kick.
The hard working mum, who became a grandmother for the first time recently, underwent surgery twice to insert plates and screws and to reattach ligaments.
For Thomson racing and a love of horses has been a huge part of her life.
Since beginning her riding career in Emerald, Thomson has ridden with success on tracks throughout Queensland. Her vast experience also includes stints working for John O’Shea in Sydney, Peter Moodie and Bill Mitchell.
She made a permanent shift to Townsville six years ago and has become a valuable member of the local racing industry with 97 wins at Cluden and a string of victories as a trainer.
This time around, Thomson has taken little time to land her first winner back.
After having her return for an unplaced effort at Cluden on January 8, Thomson won at her very next ride on her own horse, Tell Everybody, at Home Hill last Saturday.
She has two rides tomorrow, Well Chilled in the TAB Venue 3YO Mdn (1000m) for Jim Fogarty and It’s A Ploy in the 3YO Open Hcp (1300m) for long-time friend Bub Baker.
Saturday’s seven-event card kicks off at 12.23pm and winds up with the last race at 4.22pm.
Pictured: Bonnie Thomson with her stable star Strike A Beau after he won with jockey Stephen Wilson in the saddle in November. Thomson continues her comeback from injury with two rides at Cluden on Saturday.
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