Ap­pren­tice notch­ing up the wins

Anna Jones is de­light­fully grasp­ing the op­por­tu­nity New Zealand rac­ing has af­forded her, re­ports Tim Ryan.

Matamata Chronicle - - News -

Young English­woman Anna Jones, 22, is lov­ing her un­ex­pected in­volve­ment in New Zealand rac­ing and equally, New Zealand rac­ing is fast tak­ing a shine to her skills as an emerg­ing talent among the coun­try’s ap­pren­tice jockey ranks.

When in­tro­duced to New Zealand by Mata­mata blood­stock con­sul­tant, Ric Wylie, Jones was as a stud hand at Valachi Downs, the bou­tique Hin­uera Val­ley stud owned by Christchurch busi­ness­man Kevin Hick­man.

Wylie trav­els reg­u­larly to the north­ern hemi­sphere and en­coun­tered Jones on one of his trip. He ar­ranged a job for her and she ar­rived in Oc­to­ber 2011.

She quickly re­alised that, un­like in Eng­land, many New Zealand jock­eys were fe­male.

Well versed in rid­ing track­work she had the urge to join those young ladies on the track.

Some time dur­ing the year­ling sea­son at Valachi Downs she dis­cussed the mat­ter with Hick­man and stud man­ager Basil Trey­mane. As luck would have it, Mata­mata trainer Karen Furs­don, one of Hick­man’s train­ers, was vis­it­ing that day and be­fore she knew it Jones had a job and was back rid­ing.

She signed on with Furs­don in April 2012 and has a work­ing visa un­til the com­ple­tion of her ap­pren­tice­ship in three years.

She has grabbed her op­por­tu­nity and has rid­den 16 win­ners in her short time in the sad­dle with 15 this sea­son which is quite re­mark­able.

On Satur­day at Ruakaka she pro­duced a copy­book ride to win on Royal Scep­tre for as­tute Cam­bridge trainer, Ross McCar­roll, a man who is not eas­ily im­pressed.

‘‘Anna rode the horse bril­liantly,’’ McCar­roll said. ‘‘She did ex­actly what I asked.’’ Royal Scep­tre, a $4500 wean­ling buy for McCar­roll and fel­low Cam­bridge owner Wayne Dol­limore, was record­ing his third win from 18 starts.

Jones was back in the win­ner’s stall again at Mata­mata yes­ter­day aboard Mae­stro Tom.

Set­tled well back early, Jones brought the 3-year-old son of Pat­a­pan with a per­fectly timed run on the heavy track to head off So You Think’s three-quar­ter brother and $800,000 year­ling buy, Pack­ing Cha­parral, who was game in de­feat, and tear­away pace­maker, Pock­ets.

Mae­stro Tom is trained by Jones’ boss for long-time clients and sta­ble sup­port­ers, Kate and Robin Jack­son. Jones deeply ap­pre­ci­ates the sup­port she gets from sta­ble clients.

One of her favourite horses, Hick­man’s Sir Elmo,has pro­vided three of her 16 wins, the most re­cent two Satur­days back at Tau­ranga by seven lengths.

‘‘A lot of Mata­mata train­ers sup­port me and I try and do my best for them,’’ Jones said.

‘‘When I get on a horse I want to do my best and I try and im­prove each and ev­ery time.’’

Back home her fam­ily is heav­ily in­volved in the thor­ough­bred in­dus­try. Her fa­ther, brother and sis­ter-in-law ride out for Peter Chap­ple-Hyam and her mother does stud work.

‘‘The first thing they do in the morn­ing when they get up at 4.30 is log on to the New Zealand Thor­ough­bred Rac­ing web­site and watch my race rides, they are over the moon with the wins I’m hav­ing.’’

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