Victorian jockey Damien Thornton hopes his commitment to self isolate in South Australia for two weeks will be rewarded with Group One glory during the Adelaide carnival.
With the lure of some prized rides on offer from the Anthony Freedman stable, 24-year-old Thornton travelled to South Australia and quarantined for two weeks as required under coronavirus protocols.
He is booked to ride the Freedman-trained Lyre in Saturday’s Group One Robert Sangster Stakes (1200m) for fillies and mares and has secured the ride on the Chris Waller-trained Toffee Tongue, second favourite for the Group One Australasian Oaks (2000m).
Thornton is one of several Victorian jockeys to go to Adelaide and fulfil two weeks isolation to ride during the carnival over the next three weeks.
Thornton is striving for his first Group One win.
“That’s the goal,” he said.
“They were good rides and they were a bit hard to knock back.”
Thornton entered isolation last Friday week and brought exercise equipment with him to use in a small outdoor space where he is staying.
There is also plenty of downtime.
“I’m starting to get over it a bit but it’s not too bad at the moment,” he said.
“I’ve got a little outdoor area and brought some equipment over with me from my personal trainer. I’ve been doing some stuff with that but I’m not really able to do much else.
“So there’s a lot of Nexflix being watched and Playstation.”
Last year’s Group One Blue Diamond Stakes winner Lyre was fourth in the Listed Bel Esprit Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on April 18 in her lead-up to the Sangster.
Toffee Tongue has finished second to Godolphin’s Colette in both the Group Three Adrian Knox Stakes (2000m) and Group One ATC Australian Oaks (2400m) in her past two starts in Sydney.
“Toffee Tongue was really good last start up in Sydney and she’s only got to reproduce that and she will be hard to beat,” Thornton said.
“Lyre was good at Caulfield and she will improve off that coming over here.
“I trialled her at Mornington before her last run at Caulfield and got a bit of a feel for her so that was handy. She’s going well.”