She, more than most, realises life is one’s most precious asset – albeit she found out the hard way Back in December 2000, Jones sustained horrific injuries when kicked in the face by a thoroughbred.
In a split second, Jones suffered a fractured skull and jaw, and her nose, cheekbones and bones around her eye sockets were smashed to smithereens.
The impact split her head open from between the eyes to the brain cavity.
Subsequently Jones required a full sinus and face reconstruction, which took a team of eight surgeons at St Vincent’s Hospital five hours to complete.
Jones was lucky to live through her life-threatening ordeal, and that’s why these days she always looks on the bright side of life.
And a love of greyhound racing has certainly contributed to this courageous young woman’s simple philosophy on life.
In 2002, Jones snared the Group 2 Traralgon Cup with Elgrando, earning herself and part-owner Max McTaggart, of Benalla, a $20,000 first prize. A month later, Elgrando finished runner-up in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup.
Jones gave McTaggart a half share in Elgrando as a 70th birthday present. She first met McTaggart through an association with cutting-bred quarter horses. (The sport involves the rider selecting a cow from the herd, and then dropping the reins to allow the horse to take control and keep the selected cow from returning to the herd.)
Roll on six years and Jones is chasing her second Traralgon Cup. She finished sixth with Elgrando Gold, a son of Elgrando, in last year’s event.
Jones’ parents have operated Sale Boarding Kennels (situated at Fulham) for more than 35 years.
Back in the late 1980s, a female greyhound was left at the Jones property and they took her as a giveaway.
Thanks to highly respected muscle manipulator George Schofield, who also examined the greyhound, they eventually received her registration papers. She raced under the name of Lady Jabindi.
Since then a small breeding dynasty has transpired for Jones and her mother, Pat.
Ironically, the dam of Elgrando – My Madigan (Gun Law Osti-Floodgate) – is a litter sister of former stars Pete’s Boss, Jack Junior, Ashlee Jeannine and Floodlaw, who were all trained by Peter Giles. (Giles has won four Traralgon Cups.)
Jones assisted Giles for nearly 10 years, and handled such racetrack stars as City Blitz (1995 Melbourne Cup winner), Power Thriller (1998 Traralgon Cup winner), Nowhere To Go, Mr Giles, Initiative, Barwidgee Bill and Floodgate.
In more recent times she prepared outstanding sprinter My Wild Courage, who finished sixth to the Giles-trained Pete’s Conquest in the 2007 Group 1 Australian Cup.