HORSE WHISPERER: Joshua Jones has a special way with horses and is on the verge of taking out the Northern Rivers senior jockey
HORSE WHISPERER: Joshua Jones has a special way with horses and is on the verge of taking out the Northern Rivers senior jockey

Master or apprentice?

By STEVE SPINKS

UNHERALDED Ballina apprentice jockey Joshua Jones is close to causing the biggest boilover since polly left the kettle on.

The 17-year-old first-year hoop is poised to win the Northern Rivers senior jockeys' premiership after an action-packed weekend in which he claimed three winners.

Jones started off with a double in Lismore on Saturday, including riding Aqua D'Or to victory in the Truckies Long Haul Handicap (3000m), the second longest race in country Australia.

Yesterday, Jones racked up another winner at Coffs Harbour to lead the premiership with 61 winners from another Ballina hoop, Darron Coleman, on 58.

Coleman has won 10 of the past 11 Northern Rivers premierships. The only one he lost was due to injury.

Winning a senior premiership would be a monumental achievement for any first-year apprentice.

Accordingly, there has been strong interest from Sydney and Brisbane trainers, but Jones' master Stephen Lee is wary of letting his young charge go too early.

The 2006-07 season will conclude tomorrow with a meeting at Coffs Harbour, which is the only chance left for Coleman to rein in his young opponent.



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