About to embark on a new riding career in Queensland and reunite with his partner and fellow jockey Stephanie Thornton, ex-Victorian hoop Ben Thompson only has one problem – too much food.
Thompson drove up to Queensland last week and, after successfully obtaining several COVID-19 related permits, he is in mandatory quarantine in a Surfers Paradise hotel until August 20.
Boredom isn’t a problem. Not yet anyway.
But there is another issue.
Newcomers to Queensland must pay for their own hotel quarantine stay which was fine by Thompson.
Jockey Ben Thompson is currently in quarantine at Surfers Paradise. Picture: AAP Image/David CroslingSource:AAP
But the package has come with some unexpected and regular surprises that probably aren’t ideal for a jockey.
“I’m surrounded by the same four walls 24-7 but breakfast, lunch and dinner is all included, to be honest I probably should make them aware that I’m a jockey because I get given that much food I can’t eat it, it’s ridiculous,” Thompson laughed.
“The food has been very good but there’s just too much of it.
“It’s all been a bit of a whirlwind. I crossed the border on Thursday afternoon and got directed straight to hotel quarantine in Surfers Paradise.
“I don’t have much exercise gear, I’ve got my own skipping rope but that’s about it.
“(Fellow jockey) Patrick Moloney had to hotel quarantine when he returned from Singapore and he gave me some tips. He got me onto doing some workout videos.”
Young gun Thompson rode with success in Victoria before embarking on a 12-month riding stint in Singapore, returning to Australia and riding in Victoria this year since returning.
Thompson’s partner, Stephanie Thornton, also relocated to Queensland. Picture: Grant Peters, Trackside PhotographySource:Supplied
But separation from his partner, fellow ex-Victorian jockey Thornton who has been kicking some goals since relocating to the Sunshine State to ride, was the driving force in Thompson’s move north.
Thompson has also watched as former Victorian-based riders including Ryan Maloney, Andrew Mallyon and Jake Bayliss have enjoyed success riding in Brisbane.
He has an agent in Queensland but knows he will have to work overtime to try to seek support from some of the top stables so he can make an imprint on racing in the northern state.
“It’s happened very quickly, I will be honest I haven’t as yet spoken to a single trainer up here,” Thompson said.
“But I will be making calls next week as I am in quarantine for a while yet anyway and I want to be fresh in people’s minds.
“The main factor in me moving was being away from Steph and the great unknown of when we would be able to see each other again.
“When I came back from Singapore we already had been living apart for 12 months but then until the middle of March we were trying to see each other once every couple of weeks.
“But (with COVID-19 travel and jockey restrictions) it was nearing five months apart and the light at the end of the tunnel seemed a long way away and I thought I’d be happiest being up here with her.
“I will just see what comes and try to link up with the best trainers that I can and hopefully ride a lot of winners.”
Originally published asFood fight: How hotel quarantine is the meal deal for jockey
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