No monkeying around as Jones' nap is streets ahead

Richard Edmondson sees a 50-year-old former teen idol roll back the years on the Lingfield sand

They rubbed their eyes at Lingfield's all-weather racecourse yesterday and became daydream believers.

Out of the sunshine and into the winners' enclosure rode a boyish figure memorable to many despite his 50 years. This was the bloke who was once Ena Sharples' grandson in Coronation Street, the Mancunian who once fronted the musical beach bums called The Monkees. This was Davy Jones.

On a different type of sand, the one-time Newmarket stable worker (who presumably fed his charges with hey, hey) proved he had to rely on only a four-legged friend to make his name. The unkind have suggested he was carried by either his fellow Monkee troopers (Mickey Dolenz, Mike "Woolhat" Nesmith and Peter Tork) or studio musicians during his recording career. Yesterday the sole carrier was a six-year-old chestnut gelding wearing blinkers by the name of Digpast, a birthday gift from his daughter, Sarah.

Jones has been through a lot in his life, especially borders. While he is not riding out at the Bognor Regis stable of yesterday's victory-supplying trainer, Roland O'Sullivan, he is still on the road abroad with the reconstructed Monkees. He has also appeared in a rather surreal movie called Head with Victor Mature, but all this paled in comparison with success in the pounds 2,968 (and 35p) Ontario Amateur Riders' Handicap (Class E).

"That's show business," he said on dismounting after success in the final race. "That was one of the greatest thrills of my life."

And then the crowd drifted away. It was time for the last train to Victoria.

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