Hugh Bowman was in attendance. So was Malcolm Johnston. And they were joined by some 400 people for a special event at Tamworth Jockey Club last August to celebrate the life of the late jockey Darren Jones and raise money for his family.
When veteran Tamworth jockey Darren Jones died in a race fall at the Warialda Cup meeting in 2017, the racing community and the wider community united to celebrate his life.
It was an outpouring of emotion and respect that concluded with a very special event at Tamworth Jockey Club last August.
Some 400 people attended the dinner, where one of the world’s best hoops, Winx jockey Hugh Bowman, joined retired jockey legend Malcolm Johnston to regale the crowd as an excellent guest-speaking double act.
The TJC thanked the public for the “amazing” support given to the Darren Jones Family Appeal.
Jones’ widow, Sheridan, and the couple’s teenage sons, Will and Jacob, who both have disabilities, were in attendance.
Sheridan spoke from the heart. She admitted to being “overwhelmed” by the public support given to her family.
“It’s not easy to comprehend or reconcile the kindness,” she told audience.
“And it’s not easy for me, I suppose, to understand and accept the generosity of so many.
“But I suppose what it all boils down to was we either loved or respected Darren, or perhaps both.”
TJC general manager Kay Jeffrey said well in excess of $100,000 was raised for Jones’ family.
The appeal’s main element was the dinner, where an auction with 102 lots, including Winx memorabilia, was held.
Jeffrey said: “To be honest with you, we weren’t sure what support we were going to get on the night … But the generosity of everyone involved on the night was just amazing.”
She added: “She [Sheridan] couldn’t believe everyone wanted to do this for her and her boys.”
Bowman arrived in Tamworth after riding Winx to her thrilling Warwick Stakes win at Royal Randwick – her 18th straight victory. She now has 25 straight wins.
Bowman said: “For me personally, I’m honoured that I can be here to represent the jockeys of NSW and Australia in support of Darren’s family … It’s a widespread understanding of the dangers that jockeys endure, and this is a reality of what can happen.”