Doris Thurgood - the 2020 Spirit of Racing Award Winner


Elvis “Ricky” Thurgood was born in November 1958 in Sri Lanka.

His parents, Noel and Doris Thurgood, brought Ricky, his brother Derek, and sister Debbie out to in Australia in 1968, Ricky was just eight years old.


He attended secondary school at Caulfield High, which was located right next to Caulfield Racecourse, this is how the infatuation with wanting to become a jockey began.


Subsequently, with a push from one of Ricky’s teachers, he took up a Jockey apprenticeship, his boss was legendary trainer, Angus Armanasco.


His first race ride was in 1976. Later that same year on April 3, Ricky rode his first winner aboard a horse called “World Wonder” at Caulfield.


Four years on, in 1980, and Ricky had ridden more than 50 winners, making a great fist of the riding caper, until tragedy struck on the Saturday of the Easter weekend at Caulfield.

Ricky had the ride on the Jim Marconi trained Taras Regent in the Easter Cup, no one was to know that this would be Ricky’s last ride as a jockey.


Rounding the final turn in the Easter Cup at Caulfield, Taras Regent sustained a fatal heart attack, giving way underneath Ricky and Ricky suffering a terrible fall.


After the race fall in 1980, Ricky was given very little chance of surviving, but with a lot of love, care and faith from Ricky’s parents and family, Ricky is still here with us.


Diagnosed as a quadriplegic with significant brain damage, Ricky lives with and receives round the clock support from his parents, who attend to his every need.



Having never given up hope for Ricky and continuing to care for her son selflessly for over 40 years, the Victorian Wakeful Club honored Doris Thurgood with their Spirit of Racing Award at the 2020 Lady of Racing Award Luncheon. There wasn't a dry eye in the house as the video of Elvis played and Doris received a standing ovation from those present.



Doris Thurgood, alongside her family optimise the true Spirit of Racing.

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