August 18, 2023 Michael Court
EAGER young reinsman Jye Coney felt a weight had been lifted from his shoulders after the 16-year-old landed his first career winning drive at Tamworth yesterday.
Coney was on debut at the meeting, launching his career into harness racing as a reinsman.
“I have waited a long time for this day to come,” he said.
Coney, who’s the younger brother of top north-west reinswoman Jemma Coney and also the son of trainer Greg Coney, has been living and breathing harness racing since he was a youngster.
Coming up through the NSW mini trot ranks, with plenty of success, it was always going to be a natural progression for Jye to obtain his reins licence with Harness Racing NSW.
“I won a few Miracle Miles and championship races in the mini trots and it was a natural progression into the bigger horses – it was always been my dream,” he said.
Coney headed into the Tamworth meeting with five drives and built to the win by finishing third in the opening event behind Triple Emm before finishing second with Deebo, beaten a head by the Dean Chapple trained and driven Saint Karamara.
Coney spoke of his first drive for the day behind Triple Emm – his debut into the driving ranks behind a horse trained by his father Greg.
“I don’t remember much of that race” said Coney.
“It all went by pretty quickly.”
Building to the final race on the program, Coney had settled into the driving ranks and secured his first career win behind Colby, also trained by his father Greg, in taking out the Johns Auto Service Pace.
Beginning from barrier two, Coney went straight to the lead with the Betterthancheddar-Miss Firehawke gelding and dictated the terms, producing a front-running drive well beyond his years.
“I did think Colby was my best drive for the day,” said Coney, with the gelding paying $15 for the win and producing a mile rate of 1.56.8 for 1609m.
“Dad was more than happy for me and my Pop (Bob Coney) had tears in his eyes,” said young Jye.
“When the fields came out, I thought I could pinch a winner, but I really wasn’t that confident.
“Jemma was proud of me as well, but I don’t think she was impressed that I stole one of her drives.”
Jemma Coney also produced a winning drive at the meeting with Sportscam, also trained by Greg Coney, in taking out the Thread Effects Pace by a half neck over race favourite Our Aunty Ash (Tom Ison).
Jye Coney who celebrated his birthday two weeks back has now taken up a traineeship with Cessnock trainer Clayton Harmey and will be joined by his sister Jemma, who has elected to also make the move to join the stables and compete in the Hunter Valley.
“There is a bit more opportunity down there, more racing,” said Jye.
“I always wanted to have my first drive on the Tamworth track . . . and in Dad’s colours.”
Dreams do come true!
– JULIE MAUGHAN