Joness Sydney odyssey
By ADAM HICKS
BALLINA apprentice jockey Joshua Jones hasn't yet ridden a race for Anthony Cummings but the top Sydney trainer wants him in his stable, permanently.
Fresh into a three-month loan to the son of legendary trainer Bart Cummings, Jones impressed this week while preparing for his first Sydney rides aboard Canary Islands and Natural Man at Rosehill today.
Cummings said Jones had already shown he had the talent to make it in the city.
"He's down for a bit of a kick around and to see how he likes the city," Cummings said.
"He's a good kid, obviously a very good rider ... I'm hoping he decides to stay. I would have a spot for him."
But Jones's Ballina master Stephen Lee said Cummings would not get his champion jockey anytime soon.
"Of course they want him, everyone is after the kid," Lee said.
"Josh is there on three months loan then he is coming back. He's still got a lot of education ahead; this is just a learning curve.
"I sent him reluctantly on loan because he wanted to go and Anthony is a friend of mine.
"I've turned most of my horses out (to spell) ... I have a limited amount of starters for the next two months so he might as well be down there."
Jones made headlines when he finished last season with 62 winners to become the first jockey to win the Northern Rivers senior premiership as a first-year apprentice.
Cummings said Jones was proving a quick learner.
"We've had chats about the different styles from country to city and he's picked up on a few things pretty quickly," Cummings said.
"He's a talented jockey. He's quite aware ... got the right attributes to be successful here.
"He has ridden an unusual amount of winners in a short space of time.
"You can only do that if you've got the talent. You might get lucky once, but not 62 times. It doesn't work that way."
And Cummings isn't the only high-profile trainer to take notice.
Lee said he had been approached by 'several' city trainers who wanted Jones and added that city trainers who poach country talent prematurely were harming people in the industry's regional areas.
"I taught him from day one. You get these kids going and everyone wants them. That's the problem with the whole trainee situation," Lee said.
"Country trainers make good jockeys of them and the city trainers want to take them.
"They (city trainers) are not the ones who lay awake at night worrying about them.
"We get them going, teach them and do all the hard yards.
"If you get a group horse, anyone will take him."