Farewell to a racing gentleman
By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
THE racing industry is a close knit family and yesterday they said goodbye to one of their own.
More than 250 people were at Coffs Harbour Race Club attending the memorial service for jockey Daniel Baker who tragically lost his life after a race fall in Grafton 12 days ago.
While the grief of losing someone so young, gifted and popular was palpable throughout the auditorium, there were many fine memories of a young man who had a passion for horses and endeared himself to everyone that he met.
Trainers Brett Bellamy and Gordon Yorke and fellow jockey Raymond Spokes spoke warmly of a larrikin mate who was always on the lookout for some fun yet ensured he was always respectful to those around him and always willing to listen so he could learn more about the difficult career path that he had chosen.
Baker, who had only recently gained his full riding licence after a successful stint as an apprentice, decided that he was going to become a jockey after attending his first race meeting at the age of eight.
Nothing could dissuade 'Spider' from his dream and his passion for horses grew under the caring and watchful eye of mother and trainer Debbie Baker.
Always supported by those close to him, in particular his partner Linda and his mother, Baker was starting to become the jockey that a man of his natural talents should be.
After Baker's closest friends acted as pall bearer, the hearse carrying Baker made a run down the straight so the young jockey could make one final run past the finishing post.
A sight that racing people should have seen so many more times in the years to come but unfortunately won't.