SHE laments the fact it is pretty cold up Tamworth way at 5.30 in the morning.
Yet that was a distant memory for Jemma Coney on Saturday night when she landed her first metropolitan win – scoring on Roclea Image at Tabcorp Park Menangle.
“It was very rewarding when you consider your morning starts at 5.30 and it is very cold,” said the Tamworth reinswoman after scoring with her father Greg’s four-year-old pacer.
The father and daughter team train their team of 12 out of the Tamworth Paceway and are ably assisted by Jye Coney, who is set to make his entrance onto the track in early August.
“The race conditions, the draw – it is all just luck,” said Jemma after the win.
“It was exciting to tick the win off my bucket list.
“I don’t get too many opportunities to compete down at Menangle. I think I have only had about 15 drives there.”
Jemma headed to Menangle with her younger brother Jye as strapper while her father Greg worked the team back in Tamworth.
“Dad was a bit disappointed he wasn’t there but he was excited,” she said.
“He always thought the horse could win at Menangle.
“I wasn’t expecting it . . . you don’t think it is going to happen.”
The speed was on from barrier rise but Coney, who came from the two barrier, let the battle for supremacy unfold in front between The Fortunate Sun (Jack Brown) and Tinder Surprise (James Rattray) as she settled Roclea Image three back in the running line.
As the pace tempo increased Coney kept shuffling Roclea Image along.
“My horse lacks point-to-point speed,” she said.
“But he is tough and he was starting to muster speed so then I thought we might actually win.
“The finish was close and I wasn’t sure if the outside horse had got the swoop on me.”
Roclea Image held on for a half neck win over Bertie Jones (Chris Geary) with Tinder Surprise 2.2 metres away third.
The Shoobee’s Place-Angela’s Image gelding recorded a personal best mile rate of 1.52.8 for 1609 metres.
“I was relieved and happy at the same time when I came back to see the owner Col Roberts and his wife coming down onto the track,” she said.
“It is the biggest win for them.
“They have been so supportive of our stables.
“I know it won’t come easy but I would like to drive more winners at Menangle.
“But for the moment I will just keep whacking away.”
At 21 years-of-age Jemma Coney has been impressive with her driving skills since joining the senior ranks in 2019 after cutting her teeth with the mini trots.
Now boasting 127 winning drives, Coney is currently leading two premierships at her home track of Tamworth in the Johns Auto Service Local Female Drivers Premiership and the Peter & Shirley Hillam Junior Driver U23 Drivers Premiership.
And Jemma will be back in the bike on Thursday at the Tamworth harness meeting.
– JULIE MAUGHAN