South African jockey Keagan Latham has been in Australia to see only a small percentage of Cessnock champion Robert Thompson's national record of more than 4400 victories.
Latham, though, has quickly built a great respect for the veteran hoop in his three years Down Under, which made victory in the Robert Thompson Cup on Sunday at Newcastle Racecourse extra special.
Latham found a rails run for six-year-old mare Cinderconi, which sprinted to a one-and-a-half length win for trainers Jason Attard and Lucy Keegan-Attard in the 1200-metre benchmark 64 handicap.
It was the Hawkesbury-based stable's first victory since becoming an official training partnership, which was a thrill for Latham in itself.
"It's nice to ride a winner for Jason and Lucy because they've supported me since I've got here," Latham said.
"And it's just nice to keep ticking those winners over."
He said Thompson was also a supporter as "a great leader in the jockeys' room".
"RT has always been good to me," Latham said.
"It's great having that camaraderie in the jockeys' room and RT is one who is very, very well respected.
"He's been around for many years and he's obviously the most winning jockey in Australia, so you've got to give him the respect that he deserves and it's an honour to win his race."
The win was the third in 15 starts for Cinderconi, which appreciated an eight-week break between runs after a third at Muswellbrook over 1280m.
"She's run some consistent races and she's obviously been plagued with some issues here and there, but she was turned out spectacularly today," Latham said
"We had her close to the speed and I was trying to edge out for a run, but it was wasn't really happening. Once I tried to go the inside, she saw a gap and couldn't wait to get through it, and she won really well."
Keegan-Attard was pleased with the win, especially given Cinderconi has come back from a bleed in April after a race at Goulburn.
"Even when she had the bleeding attack she still ran on for third, so she's very honest, and credit to Kate Nivison [from Etak Thoroughbreds] for sticking with her and sticking with us," Keegan-Attard said.
"That win was well deserved today by the team."
Latham earlier claimed the other feature on the day, the Gary Harley Handicap, a benchmark 64 handicap over 2325m, with Knight Star for Scone trainer Jeremy Gask.
High Power, for Newcastle trainer Kris Lees, won the Summer Provincial Series heat with Aaron Bullock aboard.