Jockey killed in fall at Warialda

Darren Jones.

Darren Jones.

Tragedy has struck at Saturday’s Warialda Cup meeting with the death of popular North West jockey Darren Jones.

Tamworth’s Jones was one of three jockeys who came down after a terrible fall in the Warialda Sprint (1100m).

The 48-year old fell when aboard favourite Montague Clan in the third event, the horse coming down along with True Commitment (Melanie Bolwell) and Achanizo (Leanne Henry).

The three were taken to Warialda Hospital, with Jones unconscious when transferred, while Henry complained of general soreness and Bolwell also unconscious.

National Jockeys Trust posted an update on Saturday night stating Bolwell, an apprentice indentured to Tamworth trainer Sue Grills, had been transported to Gold Coast Hospital with serious head injuries.

The update stated Bolwell had not regained consciousness, with her injuries classified as serious.

The meeting was abandoned after race four, with the 2017 Warialda Cup among two races not run.

Originally from Glen Innes, Jones moved to Tamworth in the mid-1980’s as an apprentice to Merv Corliss.

He rode predominantly for Sue Grills, Leon Davies and Leslie Jeffries, who he teamed up with to ride Lonely Orphan to second place in Friday’s Orange Cup. 

Jones had ridden more than 800 winners during his long career, building a wonderful affinity with grand galloper All Again.

The hoop enjoyed 13 winners aboard the chestnut gelding, highlighted by the 2008 Coonabarabran Cup.

“This is a terrible tragedy and our thoughts and prayers go out to Darren’s family and friends,” Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys said.

"It shows how dangerous this sport can be - what has happened here (at Randwick) and at Warialda.

“This brings you back to reality very quickly and my heart goes out to his family.”

A number of racing identities, including jockeys Brenton Avdulla, Nathan Rose, Tommy Berry, Zac Purton and Blake Spriggs took to Twitter to pay tribute to Jones.