Great Southern apprentice Jess Gray’s red-dirt stint rewarded at WA Apprentice Jockey Awards

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Winners Jett Stanley, Laqdar Ramoly, Holly Watson and Jess Gray.
Camera IconWinners Jett Stanley, Laqdar Ramoly, Holly Watson and Jess Gray. Credit: Simon Merritt / Western Racepix

Tenterden-raised rider Jess Gray was recognised for her stellar season in the saddle in the northern race round at the 2020-21 WA Apprentice Jockey Awards held this month.

Gray was named leading Country B Apprentice Jockey at the awards held at Bathers Beach House in Fremantle on October 15.

She began her career in 2017 and, after a break for almost a year, returned to the saddle in July last year.

Gray had a terrific season in Broome, where she finished second in the leading jockey title.

Many of Gray’s winners came from host trainer Darryn Pateman and she was at her best riding on the dirt tracks around WA.

Jess Gray with her award at the event.
Camera IconJess Gray with her award at the event. Credit: Simon Merritt / Western Racepix

In the 2020-21 season Gray scored 29 victories and accumulated a large portion of those across Broome, Derby, Port Hedland, Roebourne and Carnarvon.

“I had a great season, having the support of the leading country trainer definitely helped a lot,” Gray said.

“I think that loving the dirt racing plays a big role too.

“I’m not just doing my time on the dirt then moving on to the grass, up north is where I want to base myself for as long as possible.

“It means a lot to me to win that award, there were a lot of sacrifices both myself and my partner had to make to be able to spend the season up north so it’s great that it paid off.”

Host trainer Darryn Pateman and Jessica Gray.
Camera IconHost trainer Darryn Pateman and Jessica Gray. Credit: Simon Merritt / Western Racepix

Gray won the 2020 Junction and Moora cups along with the Mingenew Sprint this year.

With racing finished in the State’s north, Gray has been riding in Darwin. She has ridden three winners from her 13 rides in Darwin since the start of the month.

Other winners were Jett Stanley (Trainee of the Year), Holly Watson (Most Promising Junior Apprentice), Madi Derrick (Leading Country A Apprentice) and Laqdar Ramoly (Best All-round Apprentice).

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