Nat Gould

His life and books

Jockey Jack

First published in 1892, this was the second of Nat Gould's novels to be published in book form. The publisher was George Routledge and Sons Ltd of London.

It was reissued by John Long in 1922.

Jack, a young waif rescued from the Melbourne streets by Ned Dalton and his daughter Hettie, grows up to be a champion jockey at Dalton's racing stables. He wins the esteem of the wealthy baronet Sir William Melissa and his beautiful wife, and falls in love with Hettie. He is tricked into seeming to associate with a notorious ring of crooked jockeys and owners, so losing the favour of Sir William. In subsequent adventures he restores his good name and wins through to fame and fortune. The mystery of his parentage is solved, and he wins his bride.

The opening of the story on the dark wet Melbourne streets is graphically told, and the description of the racing stables is vivid. A mysterious killing grips the reader, as does the reunion of Jack with his mother and the wooing of his future wife. There are a few loose ends unresolved, an odd coincidence, and some sudden jumps in the narrative. However in general it is a very engaging tale, grippingly told - a real page-turner easily read in one session. (TA)