Reece Jones has endured a rocky start to life in the saddle but the Scone apprentice is making up for lost time.
The 24-year-old is the NSW leading country apprentice this season and sits level top on statewide wins among young riders alongside Sydney-based star Tom Sherry.
But the Port Macquarie product who grew up in Sydney’s North West has had to overcome his share of challenges to get to this point.
While he had immediate success with his first race ride in August, 2018, Jones spent the bulk of the last two years on the sideline through injury.
In April last year he fell awkwardly at trackwork when his saddle slipped and tore his ACL, MCL and LCL in his knee, forcing a 12-month lay-off.
“It was frustrating there is no doubt about it as I was starting to pick up some provincial rides at the time,” Jones said.
“It was a momentum killer but I was determined to get back.”
Reece Jones is indentured to Scone trainer Rod Northam (pictured) Photo: Peter Lorimer.Source:News Corp Australia
Jones, who is indentured to Rod Northam, returned to race riding at the back end of last season and has continued to regain momentum as the year wears on, albeit with the odd hiccup.
The worst of those came last month when a hard fall at Quirindi left Jones concussed on track and he was transported to hospital.
“It wasn’t great, I got sandwiched which is where you don’t want to be and got cannonballed into the ground,” Jones said.
“It happened quite quickly but it could have been worse.”
Jones spent nine days on the sidelines before being passed fit to ride and was quick to pick up where he left off, piloting five winners in eight days to start December.
It propelled him 13 wins clear in the country premiership and level with Sherry on 34 victories for statewide wins.
“I have got a few goals and one is to win that country premiership and at least finish with 50 winners for the season,” Jones said.
“I want to lose my country claim, and I only need another five wins for that, and just be more consistent.”
Reece Jones (red) went close on Bajan Gold in the Country Classic. Photo: Steve HartSource:Supplied
Jones heads to Randwick for two rides on Saturday, where he will pilot Step On Fire as he chases his first city win.
Step On Fire is the best of the pair with the Cameron Crockett-trained galloper set to go in search of a hat-trick of wins in the TAB Highway Class 3 Plate (1000m).
Jones has been aboard the gelding at both his past two victories.
“He is going super and it’s an honour to be able to jump on him in a Highway race,” Jones said.
“He’s drawn wide (barrier 11) but last start at Scone when I won on him he drew the car park as well and the main thing was just to keep him where he is happy.
“Obviously I would have liked to have drawn a bit close but the key will be to just keep him balanced.”
Step On Fire is a $6.50 chance with TAB.com.au.
Jones will also be looking for back-to-back victories aboard Eleazar in the Farewell Pat Webster Highway Class 3 Plate.
“He ran really nicely the other day when he beat Lady Patricia at Scone and should run well again,” Jones said.
Eleazar is a $51 chance.
Originally published asCountry gun making up for lost time
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