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Monday, 12 November, 2018

He's very determined and knowledgeable – other jockeys look up to him

Andrew Thornton (left) with his fellow jockeys outside the Worcester weighing room
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Former jockey Jimmy Derham, who was Andrew Thornton's closest friend in the weighing room, sums up the qualities that made him so successful 

He's very determined and has a huge amount of self belief and it shows in his riding. He'd gone round a long time for those last few winners to reach 1,000 and people doubted him, but he's never questioned himself.

The achievement is testament to his mental strength, as broken bones are fine; it's the mental side that kills you.

Other jockeys look up to him as he's been around so long and is a knowledgeable guy. There are lads in the weighing room with 100 or so winners and he's there with 1,000, and you can't take away what's he's done.

I speak to him most days and I've known him a long time, since I was stable jockey at Seamus Mullins and he used to ride a few. He's one of a kind. He's nicknamed Lenzio as he's was one of the first to wear contact lenses while race-riding.

When I was riding he was helpful but he wouldn't tell you too much. If you were riding something against him he had ridden before he would keep a bit up his sleeve.

He was very good to me after I got broke up riding. He said come and move in with me for a few months, which I did. I was in no man's land and not feeling good about things and it was great to have someone as positive as him around.

Jimmy Derham: best man at Andrew Thornton's wedding

I was best man at his wedding but it was a surprise ceremony and I couldn't tell anyone or get any stories. It was a bit daunting but the speech went down well. Although his wife Yvonne couldn't wait for him to finally hang his boots up, she's been a big supporter and has always been behind him.

Andrew also has his son Harry and is happy – you can see that in what he's doing. I'm a big believer in when jockeys have got a good family life it shows in their riding, and he has that.

There are lads in the weighing-room with 100 or so winners and he's there with 1,000 and you can't take away what's he's done
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