A New Zealand record run by top squaregaiter Master Lavros in the $80,000 Fred Shaw Memorial NZ Trotting Championship at Addington on Friday, April 11, has earned him a Auckland Rowe Cup trip.
Overport Lodge trainer Mark Jones was considering spelling the 5YO Sundon gelding but Friday’s performance has Master Lavros in the frame to attempt a Dominion-Rowe double.
“I was rapt with him. At this stage, I will head to the Rowe Cup and look at the Greenlane Cup ($30,000) the week before the Rowe ($150,000, May 9), then the paddock,” Mark said.
Master Lavros was a luckless fifth as a relatively raw 4YO in last year’s Rowe Cup, won by veteran Stig from Springbank Sam and Boizel.
All honours were with Master Lavros in Friday’s Group One trot free-for-all.
He trotted the mobile 2600m in 3:13.1 (1:59.4 mile rate), shaving 0.2 of a second off Ima Gold Digger’s mark set when winning the daytime 2010 NZ Trotting Free-For-All at the NZ Cup meeting.
The Kypros Kotzikas-owned squaregaiter, who lost his unruly tag for mobiles after the record-breaking win, came from last of the 10 runners, being timed over his last mile in 1:56.2.
After moving up parked over the final lap, Mark was able to drop the big bay down to the markers behind strong front-runner Clover Don when trailer Royal Aspirations couldn’t hold his ground at the 700m.
This was probably the winning of the race. Master Lavros was able to renew his energy for a final sprint lane crack at Clover Don inside the final 200m.
Master Lavros did the rest, showing his toughness to win going away by three-quarters of a length, with Mark allowing himself a salute in a rare show of emotion.
The Overport Lodge trainer had considered missing the Trotting Championship after Master Lavros was defeated in the $25,000 Glenferrie Farm 4 & 5YO Trotters Championship a week earlier.
A late decision was made to give the horse his chance, with Master Lavros showing his class, notching his fifth win from 12 starts this term and his 13th win from only 28 career starts for $268,428 in stakes.
Mark Jones racked up his 55th training win for the season in the Trotters Championship (following a Forbury double last Thursday).
He is third on this season’s premiership by runaway leaders, Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen (112) and second-placed Robert Dunn (75).
By Jeff Scott (Courtesy of Mark Jones Racing)