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Vale Mr Ray ‘Spike’ Jones

Racing NSW has been informed of the passing of legendary Western Districts jockey Ray ‘Spike’ Jones who passed away today aged 77.

Mr Jones won 39 Cup races including the 1969 Orange Cup on Tom’s Gift and in the same year received the Orange Sports Person of the Year gong

Jones’s love of horses developed when he began riding a donkey backward, making it buck to simulate what it would be like to ride a rough horse.

The late Ray 'Spike' Jones

Central Western Daily newspaper’s Nick McGrath penned: “During his apprenticeship, Jones rode his first winner in his very first race ride guiding High Beam to victory at Cowra.

Jones then made it two from two when he scored at Bathurst’s Towac Park in his first attempt at the track.

“And it all just kicked on from there. I just kept riding winners and winners and winners,” Jones said.

It’s also when Jones’s love affair with the Orange track begun: “It meant everything,” Mr Jones said referring to Towac Park.

“I was only an apprentice but during the first two meetings I had 13 rides for eight winners ... and I was only an apprentice.

“I’ve always said if a horse can win a 1400-metre race in Orange they can win a race in Sydney. I loved the track.”

Jones went on to win 14 premierships, rode four winners on the one day on 14 different occasions and accumulated a total of 1448 winners.

Mr Jones also sat on the sideline through suspension 14 times while also surviving the horrors of falling off a racehorse 14 times. Lucky or unlucky, 14 was Jones’s magic number.”

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