Reece honours his mate with Te Aroha win
Young Matamata jumps jockey Reece Cole put much more than normal emotion into his weekend win at Te Aroha on Fast Catch.
Two days earlier he had joined a large crowd of mourners at Matamata racecourse to farewell his mate Jason Hercock, who was struck down at age 41 and died after a short illness last Tuesday.
Jason, the brother of former jockey Kate Hercock, had a wide circle of friends in the community he lived in and beyond.
No doubt they were all riding with Reese when he brought home Fast Catch for an easy win at Te Aroha on Sunday.
His salute to the heavens as he reached the finish line said it all and it mattered little to him that stewards afterwards fined him $100 for standing high in the irons with the salute before the winning post.
Reese, aged 24 years, touching six feet in height and unable to make less than 65 kilograms, is not what you would describe as being built like a jockey, but that hasn’t stopped him from realising an ambition he set himself as a teenager.
A nephew of former successful jumps jockey Kim Burke, he gained his licence in 2014 and after a string of minor placings he broke his duck the following season with two wins along with four second placings from 23 rides in 2014-15.
Reese’s dedication was sorely tested when he failed to ride a winner from 30 raceday mounts last season, but he has since been rewarded with better rides and results to match.
His win on Fast Catch took his 2016-17 tally to five wins from 35 rides, of which three wins have been in highweight flat races.
From 18 rides over fences this season he has won twice, with two seconds and two third placings giving him further cause to believe in himself.
Reese Cole heads to an emotional victory on Fast Catch at Te Aroha on Sunday.