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There is more to Angela Jones than just being a jockey

1 August 2022

By Jordan Gerrans

This story is supposed to be about apprentice jockey Angela Jones kicking off her metropolitan riding career.

The 21-year-old from the state’s north has taken the country and provincial riding ranks by storm over the last few years and with the backing of Tony Gollan now in the city, all the signs point to Jones doing more of the same in town.

But, to completely understand what kind of person Jones is, this story needs to be told through her partner, fellow apprentice jockey Kyle Wilson-Taylor.

The tail of Wilson-Taylor has been well-told over the last few years.

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The kid from Victoria has battled a tough upbringing.

Troubles within his family forced him at stages to be homeless as a youngster, and in his own words, he had been a bit of a ratbag at times, causing mischief.

Recently crowned as the top apprentice in Brisbane for last season, Wilson-Taylor’s life certainly could have gone down a much different path than the one he is currently on alongside Jones.

And, while the 22-year-old has his life on the straight and narrow now, he still refers to himself as a hot-head, which can get the best of him at times.

While Wilson-Taylor is riding plenty of winners for big stables, he has been in the headlines in recent weeks for run-ins with stewards, including declaring “this is ridiculous” in a heated hearing.

Some jockeys enjoy the high life of bars and restaurants when their name is up in the lights following a big day in the saddle.

That is not the case for boom youngster Wilson-Taylor, more than likely he is at home on a Saturday night with his country girl Jones, watching replays from the day and getting ready for their next assignments.

Through Jones' laid-back and caring influence, Wilson-Taylor is in the best mental space he has ever been in. 

Speaking to Wilson-Taylor, you quickly understand just how important Jones is to him.  

“She really helps me be a better person and that has got nothing to do with horse racing, that is just an everyday basis,” Wilson-Taylor said.

“We feed off each other really well.

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“We are quite different – I am hot-headed and very competitive – while Ang is very laid back, it is a different dynamic, but we make it work.

“She is great and I am very lucky to have her.”

Charters Towers product Jones has closely watched her partner ride the highs and lows of being an apprentice hoop in town over the last 12 months.

She believes having first-hand knowledge of just what he has experienced will only help her pursuits.

“Knowing he has done what I am about to do over the last year, you can go through things with him,” Jones said.

“I can learn from some of his mistakes - obviously, I am still going to make my own mistakes – but I think I can ask him about things before I make the mistakes.

“It is good to have him to keep me in a level head space.”

Jones – like Wilson-Taylor – learnt under top Darling Downs trainer Lindsay Hatch before making the move to the big city.

She has had a couple of city rides so far – both for her new boss Gollan – for a winner at the mid-week's recently, before taking her three-kilogram allowance to town last Saturday.

With her three-kilogram claim, Jones is going to be popular with her manager fielding an array of calls for her services.

She prepared for her city season with 81 victories on the provincial circuit last season, just being edged out for the premiership by fellow apprentice Jasmine Cornish.

Horses and animals have come naturally to Jones, growing up on a property that had grain and cattle near Charters Towers.

The level-headed youngster understands that there is plenty of hype around her move to the city riding ranks and while she is keen to get started, she recognises just how lucky she has been so far.

“I have been looking forward to it for a while, I want to take it slow – which also hoping to hit the ground running – so maybe ease into it as much as I can,” Jones said.

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“I am grateful for the opportunities I have been given and I really want to make the most of it as I do not think a lot of people have been given the opportunities I have.

“It is really important I acknowledge that and do the best I can with what I have been given.”

Wilson-Taylor detailed the positive impact Jones has had on his life and career but her influence has not stopped there.

Those involved in the racing game on the Darling Downs rave about her attitude and demeanour.

“Ang came here to Toowoomba and her work ethic, her nature and her dedication to the sport is to her credit and she deserves every winner she gets,” Toowoomba Turf Club Chairman Kent Woodford said.

James O'Shea – the son of legendary caller Pat O’Shea – has watched Jones closely at Clifford Park over the last year or so and believes she is destined for metropolitan riches.

“She is an incredible talent and her results speak for themselves,” O'Shea said.

“You are going to see her ride many, many winners in the city as she is with a top stable.

“Ang will continue the tradition of great apprentice riders coming from this area, following on from Kristy Banks, Lacey Morrison, among others, the list goes on.

“Ang Jones is a name everyone will be talking about in 12 months’ time.”

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With a three-kilogram claim, the winners will flow for Jones over the coming weeks and months.

But, according to her partner, she will not be claiming them on weight alone, Wilson-Taylor describes her as an excellent tactical rider as she is in the box seat to win the apprentice title at the end of this season.

“She is a very laid back customer but she is also really excited about it,” Wilson-Taylor said.

“She will not be out of place at all, she is a very good rider and she will have the backing of a number of really good stables so she will be fine when she does get started.

“Nothing phases her and that is an attribute that you need for success, she has been very successful since the start of her career and she will have no problem now riding in the city.”

Jones has a book of five rides at Eagle Farm on Wednesday afternoon as her metro riding time builds momentum.