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    Veteran trainer loses hard-fought battle Veteran trainer loses hard-fought battle

    VETERAN horseman Donald Thomas lost his brave battle yesterday

    FAMILY and friends are mourning the loss of a true gentleman, Donald Thomas. A respected horseman, and all round warm soul, Thomas lost his... Veteran trainer loses hard-fought battle
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    FAMILY and friends are mourning the loss of a true gentleman, Donald Thomas.

    A respected horseman, and all round warm soul, Thomas lost his brave battle against cancer yesterday at the age of 86.

    Diagnosed with the dreaded condition earlier this year, Thomas fought gallantly until the end.

    Making his debut as a trainer during the 1984/85 season, Thomas stepped away from the industry for a decade before returning in 2020.

    Quickly picking up where he left off, the South Australian enjoyed one of his best seasons in 2022.

    Only training “one or two at a time”, Thomas made 10 trips to the winners’ circle, with 2001/02 his best term with 13 wins according to Harness Racing Australia stats.

    Earlier this year, Thomas notched a personal milestone – his 200th success – thanks to Whoee Johnson’s victory at Globe Derby.

    WHOEE JOHNSON provided Donald Thomas with his 200th win – Photo Walter Bulyga

    “I had no idea that was my 200th win,” Thomas said. “I don’t keep track of things like that.

    “I only ever train one or two at a time, which is enough for me, so getting 200 wins is not a bad effort.”

    Thomas’ leading performer in recent years was handy mare Whistle On By, which recorded eight wins last year.

    Now prepared by Matt Whelan, Whistle On By is engaged at Globe Derby this evening and will be driven by Thomas’ great grandson, Declan, who will wear Thomas’ silks.

    Thomas is survived by his wife, Val, their six children, 16 grandchildren and 27 great grandchildren.

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