He may just fall short of snatching the Sydney apprentices’ title but Reece Jones is poised to hit a milestone, perhaps before he heads to Rosehill on Saturday.
Jones sits on 99 winners for the season and with rides at Scone on Friday, Rosehill and then Hawkesbury on Sunday by the end of the weekend he could eclipse his personal best of 102.5 wins set last season.
Chief among his Rosehill book is in-form mare Comme Bella Fille and Jones is keen to atone for narrowly missing a hat-trick when she tackles the Vale Nick Moraitis Handicap (1800m).
The four-year-old, $2.80 with TAB on Friday, just failed to run down Nothinsweetaboutme at Randwick three weeks ago and Jones said he thought he made the right move tracking Niffler into that race but it ultimately brought them undone.
“It was a very slowly run race, I had the short priced favourite in front of me and I didn’t want to expose her too early,’’ he said.
“I was hoping to get a nice trail into the race without having to cover too much extra ground but it didn’t take me into the race how I was hoping.
“If I had my time again I would have taken off a bit sooner but it’s hard to jump off the favourite’s back so early.”
Comme Bella Fille produced a last 600m of 34.89 (Punter’s Intelligence), 2-1/2 lengths faster than the next best, and a last 200m of 11.91 in defeat.
She drops 6kg on that run as she rises in class and Jones, whose metro claim will reduce to 1.5kg after Rosehill following his 50th city win during the week, said he won’t be afraid to use it in the face of what may well be another slowly run race.
On paper it appears the Chris Waller-trained Lord Ardmore is the only on-pace runner but he’ll be carrying 7.5kg more than Comme Bella Fille and is jumping from 1300m to 1800m while Jones said with three runs under her belt, including one at 1800m, his mount has no excuses fitness wise.
“With the light weight it works into our advantage,’’ he said.
“She gets through a heavy track and if it’s a similar set up and I get an opportunity to roll into it early I’ll definitely take advantage of that.
“She’s racing super this prep and she hasn’t gone backwards.”
Jones has three rides for his master John O’Shea at Rosehill and he says he couldn’t be happier with how Mr Gee is working in the morning but concedes he may not get conditions to suit in the TAB Handicap (1800m).
The gelding showed a glimpse as he attacked the line strongly from last to finish sixth behind Francesco Guardi on a good track at Randwick three weeks ago.
“He’s been working really well but keeps hitting wet tracks or a bad gate and had to get too far back,’’ Jones said.
“Things haven’t gone how he likes them. You can’t fault him on his work at home.”
As for the apprentice premiership, Jones will arrive at Rosehill trailing Tyler Schiller by seven wins with five meetings remaining.
“I probably left the run a little too late. I’ve managed to claw it back a little bit but I’ll keep turning up and keep trying,’’ he said.
– Racing NSW