Overport Lodge harness trainer Mark Jones brought up his 300th training win when Strike On Command responded to a clever drive from good mate Blair Orange at Marlborough on Sunday, June 22.
The milestone caps Mark’s sixth and most successful season as a professional trainer.
This was his 68th win for the season, taking the stable earnings to $738,993, with mutliple Group One winning trotter Master Lavros the big breadwinner.
“Its been a good season. We’ll be a bit down next season as a lot have been sold and we’re a bit light on numbers,” Mark said.
Strike On Command, nutted out of first by Motu Prince Of Peru in the dying stages on the first day, was able to be saved a shade longer for his final sprint on the second day in the C2-3 A1 Drycleaning and Laundry Mobile Pace.
Pacemaking favourite Al’s Courage had dashed clear inside the final 200m and looked to have the result in safe keeping but Blair had other ideas after giving his charge a good run on the outer.
He lifted Strike On Command over the final 100m to win going away by half a length in a useful 2:00.1 mile rate for the mobile 2300m, the leaders last 800m in 57.5s.
Strike On Command, a consistent 3YO McArdle colt, has now raced 22 times for five wins and eight placings (including six seconds) for $31,382 in stakes.
Raced by Australian owner Kevin Stanley, Strike On Command is the first foal from Noble Strike (1:56.8h, US), who numbered a PGG NZ Yearling Sales 2YO Fillies South Island Graduette win and a Nevele R Fillies Heat among her two NZ wins for Ian and Malcolm Shinn.
The OK Bye-TK Swift mare proved a consistent winner in North America, notching another 15 wins, earning the equivalent of $149,602.
She is a half-sister to other big USA winners in Time Flies (1:52, US; 36 wins incl. 32 in the US for $624,230 career winnings) and Ultimate Pursuit (1:51.6, US, 44 wins incl. 38 in the US).
Time Flies is the dam of former Overport Lodge 2YO winner Glenferrie Magic (1:59.1, 1700m), who showed much potential winning once from three starts before having her race career cut short.
Strike On Command is bred to be above average.
He belongs to the same family as other big winners _ Slybye (1:52.4, US, 31 wins in NZ, Aust & US), El Cabalero (1:54.4, US, 17 wins incl. 12 in the US), Algranco Alive (1:56.2 mile rate, 1650m, 10 Aust. wins) and Flak Jacket (1:54, US, a former NZ Kindergarten Stakes winner at two, 12 wins in NZ, Aust. and the US).
By Jeff Scott (Courtesy of MARK JONES RACING)