Day At The Track

Leonne Jones to create Rowe Cup history?

11:59 AM 28 Apr 2017 NZST
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Gee Up Neddy
HRNZ photo

The late great Derek Jones achieved the feat with Rewa Scott in 1953. His son Peter did it in 1985 with Tussle, and grandson Mark Jones matched the accomplishment with Master Lavros in 2014.

Now Leonne Jones, the wife of Peter, will be attempting to become the first solo female trainer to win the prestigious Rowe Cup at Alexandra Park on Friday night with Gee Up Neddy.

"I'm very proud of her but in saying that Leonne did most of the work with Tussle when she won the Rowe Cup back in the mid-1980s,’’ Peter Jones said.

"It was Leonne's idea to start "Neddy" in the Rowe Cup. It was her that convinced me to enter the horse and go for it. She said if we weren't in this year we might never nail it again.”

By that the 60-year-old Canterbury horseman meant the race was very winnable.

"The big guns like Monbet, Speeding Spur and Mark's Master Lavros aren't there so that makes it a very even field.

"The horse is improving all the time and even though it is going to be tough to win it, he won't disgrace himself," Jones said.

Jones decided not to renew his licence at the start of the 2015-2016 season.

"Leonne taking over then meant I didn't have to do all the thinking and could just drive the team in work for her. Leonne is the brains and voice of the stable.

"It's worked out real well. Leonne has done a fantastic job with the horses for years now and the only difference the winners are now in her name," Jones said.

"I had some minor health problems and it's all worked out well," he said.

Jones is staying in the North Island with Jim Cole at Pukekohe. His wife is training their team back in Yaldhurst.

"If the brains trust of Jim Cole, myself and Leonne can't drum up a Rowe Cup winner together then no-one can," Jones joked.

"You will be unlikely to get her on the phone back home either. She's a workaholic," he added.

Jones was right about his wife. She was busy working the team when HRNZ tried to contact her (three times) but Jones said that was typical of his wife.

"Leonne has always been such a harder worker both in the stable and at home. She often puts the horses before herself. I'd love her to win the Rowe Cup, If anyone deserved that she does," Jones said.

Jones (Leonne) has trained 15 winners in two seasons - eight this season and seven last year. She has also had 21 place-getters and won $118,134 in stakes.

Gee Up Neddy has provided Jones with two of her winners this season - at Phar Lap Raceway onDecember 29 and Addington Raceway on March 16.

From 2010-2011 to 2014-2015 Jones also trained another 55 winners with husband.


Duane Ranger

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