South­ern course brings re­ward

Matamata Chronicle - - Out & About - TIM RYAN

The South Is­land’s pre­mier race­course proved a fruit­ful hunt­ing ground for Mata­mata jock­eys Sa­man­tha Col­lett and Reese Jones last week­end.

A sin­gle win at Woodville on Thurs­day had taken Sam’s tally for the 2016-17 sea­son to 56, equalling her ca­reer-best set last sea­son, and she headed down to Ric­car­ton on Satur­day morn­ing with the prospect of a full book of rides pro­vid­ing the means to a new per­sonal best.

So it proved, with a winning dou­ble that in­cluded her sixth black type win of the sea­son as she part­nered Cam­bridge filly Nikita to vic­tory in the Warstep Stakes.

Last sea­son Sam’s 56 wins and multiple plac­ings by her race­day mounts had taken her past a com­bined stake-earn­ings fig­ure of $1 mil­lion for the first time and she’s in sight of seven-fig­ures again just a touch short of $900,000 with more than three months of the sea­son re­main­ing.

An­other in­ter­est­ing statis­tic is her over­all num­ber of race­day mounts.

Last sea­son Sam’s 924 rides were the most of any jockey in New Zealand and her busy coun­try­wide sched­ule again has her sim­i­larly po­si­tioned on 669 rides along with an­other ca­reer best, equal sixth place on the jock­eys’ premier­ship.

At 26, Sam has age and at­ti­tude on her side as she looks to the next 33 wins that will take her to 500 and closer to the six-fig­ure tal­lies of her jockey par­ents, for­mer cham­pion Jim Col­lett and Trudy Thorn­ton, who is still rid­ing at age 53.

Reese Jones took his ca­reer tally to 600 wins late last sea­son, but it was an­other mile­stone that brought pos­si­bly more per­sonal sat­is­fac­tion on the week­end.

Vic­tory in the fi­nal race at Ric­car­ton signed off an im­por­tant miss­ing el­e­ment on his list of achieve­ments, a first ever win in the South Is­land.

The irony is that Barry Reese Jones – known to his mates as ‘Breeze’ – was born and raised in South Can­ter­bury, where his late fa­ther Barry was a successful Washdyke trainer.

He be­gan his ap­pren­tice­ship at home, rid­ing in tri­als at age 14, but as a 15-year-old he went north to con­tinue his ap­pren­tice­ship with noted men­tor Jim Gibbs.

He rode more than 90 win­ners in the sec­ond and third years of his ap­pren­tice­ship and af­ter com­ing out his time he re­mained in Mata­mata, apart from a stint rid­ing in Queensland.

In the 30 years that have gone by, ev­ery one of Reese’s 605 New Zealand wins prior to last week­end had been on North Is­land tracks, but Pin­sraad in the fi­nal race at Ric­car­ton pro­vided the south­ern break­through.

‘‘It’s been a long time com­ing so it was good to get my first win­ner down south,’’ says Reese.

‘‘I ac­tu­ally rode a horse called Paw Patrol to win at Win­ga­tui a cou­ple of years ago but we had the race taken off us when I weighed in a kilo light.

‘‘It turned out the lead bag was left out when they sad­dled him up.’’

Pin­sraad, who is trained at Otaki by for­mer Mata­mata horse­man Howie Mathews, was one of just two rides on Satur­day, the other a much bet­ter per­formed sta­ble­mate Samp­son.

Reese had al­ready rid­den that horse to wins this year in the Gr. 2 Awa­puni Gold and Gr. 3 Tren­tham Stakes, but he was foiled by the puggy track con­di­tions from ad­ding the Can­ter­bury Gold Cup.


Sa­man­tha Col­lett notches a per­sonal best of 58 wins as she brings home Nikita (cen­tre) home in the Warstep Stakes at Ric­car­ton.

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