Brent Thomson enjoyed a long career as a top international jockey. In New Zealand and Australia he established his reputation while still an apprentice. He rode four winners of the Cox Plate in the space of five years before turning 22. Three times premier jockey in Victoria, he later achieved conspicuous success overseas, riding more than 2500 winners worldwide.
Born in Wanganui, New Zealand in 1958, son of trainer Kevin Thomson, Brent became champion New Zealand apprentice at 16. He first visited Australia the following year, riding Fury’s Order through a boggy track to win the 1975 Cox Plate. In January 1976 he won the Auckland Cup on Perhaps at long odds. In the November he rode Kythera into third place in Van Der Hum’s famously wet Melbourne Cup. In 1977 Thomson won his second Cox Plate, on Family of Man. The press called him ‘New Zealand glamour jockey’ and ‘The Babe’. He settled in Melbourne as stable rider for Colin Hayes, winning the 1978 Cox Plate on So Called and the 1979 Cox Plate on the champion Dulcify. Thomson rode Dulcify in all his major wins including the AJC Derby, Victoria Derby, Rosehill Guineas and when the horse was fatally injured during the running of the 1979 Melbourne Cup.
Thomson’s three jockey premierships came during his six years with Hayes. He also rode with success for other stables, his Group wins including the 1980 Rothmans 100,000 (Hit It Benny), 1982 Caulfield Cup (Gurner’s Lane) and 1983 Perth Cup (Bianco Lady).
From 1984 to 1987 Thomson based himself in the United Kingdom, chiefly riding for owner Robert Sangster and trainers Barry Hills and Peter Walwyn, amassing more than 100 winners. In Germany he won the 1984 Baden Baden Grand Prix on Australian horse Strawberry Road. He won the 1985 Ascot Gold Cup on Sangster’s horse Gildoran
Further Group 1 successes followed during Thomson’s return visits to Australia. These included Dandy Andy’s shock 1988 Australian Cup defeat of Vo Rogue and Bonecrusher. On Lord Reims he won his second Caulfield Cup and an Adelaide Cup. From 1989 to 1992 he was based in Hong Kong, riding chiefly for trainer Brian Kan Ping-chee, but continued to visit Australia for big races. After riding winners in a total of 27 countries, finally based in Macau, Thomson retired to Australia in 2000, subsequently working for New Zealand Bloodstock agency. Flamboyant, articulate, competitive and astute, wherever he rode Thomson was always popular with the crowds.
“Don’t get bigger than the game itself and remember those you come across on your way up the ladder of success, otherwise the fall will be a lot faster.” - Brent Thomson’s advice from his father.