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Thornton recovers from virus and hails champion Hughes



Knocked sideways: Andrew Thornton was hit hard by the coronavirus

Knocked sideways: Andrew Thornton was hit hard by the coronavirus

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Knocked sideways: Andrew Thornton was hit hard by the coronavirus

Andrew Thornton reports himself to be nearing full health after recovering from coronavirus.

The Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning rider caught the virus in March, describing how he was "knocked sideways" by the illness.

He said: "The last week I have been just about back to 100%.

"Where it came from I don't know, but luckily Yvonne (wife) and Harry (son) have both managed to avoid catching it. I just tried to separate myself - I used a different bedroom and bathroom, I stayed away from them.

"I struggled to get up before 1pm, I'd brush my teeth and walk downstairs and I'd be struggling to breathe. After about five days I started to improve, but I lost about three quarters of a stone in 10 days as I just lost my appetite and everything tasted of salt.

"I'd never missed a day of work in 28 years through illness, but I definitely wouldn't have been going to work."

While Thornton has been unwell, Brian Hughes' achievement in being crowned champion jockey has not passed him by.

Northern Ireland ace Hughes clocked up 141 winners in a curtailed season, with Thornton keen to underline his consistency.

He added: "It's a fantastic achievement for him to be champion jockey. He's only the third jockey to win it in 25 years after AP McCoy and Richard Johnson, and if you go back further there's not many names on it since the late 1970s as John Francome won it seven times and Peter Scudamore eight.

"It's the fourth year he's had over 140 winners too. It works well for him that Donald McCain's horses seem to start the season well and then Nicky Richards' come into their own when the ground gets more testing.

"He's got some good relationships with the likes of Ruth Jefferson and Brian Ellison - his strike rate for him was amazing. It's great to see him win it."

The Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, is withholding prize money for the world's richest race, the $20m (£16m) Saudi Cup, after trainer Jason Servis was indicted in America.

The handler was one of 27 individuals indicted by the District Attorney for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan as part of an investigation into alleged doping.

Servis sent out Maximum Security to win the contest in Riyadh back in February.

A statement said: "JCSA is conducting its own investigation and until that investigation is concluded, JCSA will withhold payment of prize money."

Belfast Telegraph