Reece Jones has ridden more winners than any other NSW apprentice this season but chalked up the most significant victory of them all when scoring aboard Godolphin colt Gravina at Randwick on Saturday.
Jones has mainly been plying his trade away from the limelight of Sydney‘s metropolitan Saturday meetings and has recorded 70-1/2 wins throughout the 2020/21 season across the state.
But with the bulk of Sydney‘s top jockeys riding up in Queensland for the Winter Carnival, it has provided the young gun with added opportunity to prove his worth in town on the weekend.
And Jones, who turned 25 on Friday, made the most of his chance at NSW racing headquarters.
The young gun executed to perfection from a good draw to record his maiden win at his first ride for breeding and racing powerhouse Godolphin.
“I wanted to try and make that one count,” Jones said.
“I‘ve got a good network of support around me and I can’t thank them enough.
“It is definitely rewarding especially with the bigger jockeys away.
“It opens up some doors that I probably usually wouldn‘t get at this level but I am really grateful to even don the Godolphin blue colours, it’s a huge honour.
“It‘s awesome. It’s lucky I can ride a lightweight. That is appealing to those bigger stables so if they give me the opportunity I am going to take it with both hands.”
Jones has started his riding career under the tutelage of Scone trainer Rod Northam and had piloted the winner of the Highway race at Rosehill earlier this month when he booted home Don‘tforgetmonica for Cameron Crockett.
On Saturday he came to Sydney with a strong book that included rides for Godolphin, Gerald Ryan and Sterling Alexiou, Ciaron Maher and David Eustace and Mark Newnham.
The emerging apprentice was able to utilise the gun draw in barrier two and had Gravina perfectly positioned in the box seat in running.
He waited patiently for the gap to open and peeled off the leader‘s back at the 300m to launch his challenge in the straight.
Gravina absolutely destroys them in Race 5 at Randwick. @Godolphinpic.twitter.com/nCfhwzR4cf
Gravina ($6.50) bolted away when he got clear air to score by a comfortable five lengths from the Chris Waller-trained Tycoonist ($11) with Matthew Smith‘s Rock My Wand ($31) making up ground along the fence to finish third.
“It was just a really good draw,” Jones said.
“My instructions were to be just behind the leaders, travelling beautifully for me, switching off nicely.
“They didn‘t want me to go too early on him so I timed my run to get that gap and he did the rest. He finished off the race really well.”
Jones‘ classy steer drew high praise from Hall of Fame jockey and Godolphin stable representative Darren Beadman.
“Those types of horses really suit young apprentices, they just put themselves in the right spot and he gave him a faultless ride,“ Beadman said.
“He’s a young, up-and-coming young man and Rodney has done a terrific job with him up north but he will certainly get a lot of confidence out of that and so will the horse.
“He’s coming along nicely. He is obviously starting to strengthen up and get more confidence and he’s been putting in the hard yards and I think that will bring him on well.
“He’s starting to polish up nice.“
Gravina had been beaten in a Class 2 at Scone at his last run before chalking up his second career win and first at a Saturday metropolitan meeting.
“The other day, Kerrin just underestimated the leader at Scone but once they split nicely at the top of the rise he got to the right part of the ground and he’s always shown us nice promise, the colt,“ Beadman said.
A protest by fourth placegetter Cream Rises against runner up Tycoonist for interference in the straight was dismissed by Racing NSW stewards.
Originally published asApprentice makes his mark in Godolphin’s royal blue
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