There’s a photo that hangs at Russell and Karen Coleman’s house that captures a small part of a champion pony jockey’s career.
The jockey pictured is Dungowan-born Ernie Henry – Russell’s great uncle – and the action in that unfolded in that photo happened exactly 100 years today.
The picture captures Henry, better known as ‘Jerky Joe’ due to his riding style, crossing the line on Field Daisy at Ascot in Sydney – a now defunct racecourse in Mascot which is now a part of the site of Sydney Airport – on May 3, 1918.
A look through some old newspaper clippings give a fair idea of just how an accomplished rider Henry was during his career.
Henry was the first Australian jockey to rack up 100 wins in a season.
He then went on to do it three more times in a row.
Henry’s best effort came when he rode seven races and also dead-heated for first from 10 rides at Victoria Park in 1924.
He also rode five winners in a single day on four occasions.
On top of all that, he amassed over 2000 winners in his career.
Henry even had the chance to ride Pharlap in trackwork.
“He said it was a beautiful horse to ride,” Karen said.
Despite the amazing career, Henry wasn’t one to boast.
But, Russell and Karen said he’d be happy to talk about his career when asked.
“He was just such a nice person,” Russell said of his great uncle.
“He was a fantastic bloke,” Karen added.
“We used to sit down and listen to stories about what he did at the race track and it was fantastic.”
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