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Rockin Cullen ended up her race career on a high by taking out the $9915 Stunin Cullen Sprint Series Final over 1200m at Forbury on Thursday, December 17. The 5YO daughter of Christian Cullen and Idancedallnight, racing in foal to top sire Bettor’s Delight, justified her favouritism from the two gate in the hands of Kimberly Butt. he had enough gate speed to cross Sunnivue Bay Boy and after being pressured by Canderel from the 800m, Rockin Cullen kept finding enough to hold strong late finisher Alexy by a head, with Sicilian Secret third. Kimberly also won the Ricoh Junior Drivers Mobile Pace at Forbury, getting short-priced favourite Cullen Keefe home after giving him the run of the race to beat Music, taking her number of driving wins to 20. Rockin Cullen achieved the goal of her father and son Southland owners, Paul and Brendan Duffy, after being sent to Overport Lodge trainer Mark Jones as a C1 mare this term. She raced just four times, winning a heat and final of the Stunin Cullen Sprint Series, and also earned a 1:57.4 time trial credit before being retired to the matron’s paddock. Rockin Cullen raced just 16 times for three wins and three placings, earning $19,722. She has plenty going for her on breeding and has a useful record to match. Her dam Idancedallnight (p2, 1:59.3, six wins & $103,655) was a former Group Two Nevele R Stud 2YO Stakes winner during her race career for owner Ian Dobson. Idancedallnight, who died last year, is the dam of four to race for four winners. She left useful brothers to Rockin Cullen in Waltzing With Cullen (1:51.7, Aust, 15 wins & $139,488) and Southland winner Nureyev (2:00), and also this season’s second-up Invercargill winner Degas (by Art Major). Rockin Cullen is a distant relative of the famed Regina-Rosehaven-Black Watch maternal line, which earlier relatives of the Duffy family established. Idancedallnight, by Presidential Ball, was from another good filly in Ciccio Star (p3, 1:58.4), who won five at two and three, including a PGG NZ Yearling Sales 3YO Fillies Pace, earning $102,499. Ciccio Star also left smart half-brothers to Idancedallnight in Conquistare (1:55.9, Aust, 13 wins & $A73,755), Zenthura (1:56.5 Aust, 16 wins & $A117,705), Major Star (1:56.9, seven NZ wins & $101,577) and this season’s promising Canterbury pacer Dana Duke (three wins). Rockin Cullen’s fourth dam Spirit Of Venus (Lordship-Nancy Iola, by Black Fury-Rosehaven) was unraced but besides Ciccio Star left the speedy Nketia (1:52.4, US, 17 Australasian wins), and Whata Spirit, the four-win dam of a NSW Oaks winner in Fake Spirit (p2, 1:59.8, 1700m) and fast North American winner Family Spirit (1:52.4h, US). Another daughter of Spirit Of Venus in Spirit Of Spring left Umoja (1:51.2, US), who won five in NZ and has won 24 in North America, earning nearly $200,000. Courtesy Of Mark Jones Racing Stables    

Overport Lodge trainer Mark Jones has capable mare Goodness Gracious Me warming up for the summer circuit. Goodness Gracious Me, first-up since July, ran Willow close at the Rangiora workouts on Wednesday, December 3. The 4YO Christian Cullen mare is the winner of four from 23 starts, but reverts to the C2 grade with dropback age group concessions. She trailed three back for Mark behind the Allstars stablemates Willow and Linda Lovegrace in the C2-4 mobile heat on Wednesday. Goodness Gracious Me may have headed Willow in the run home before the latter kicked back for a half a head win. “She (Goodness Gracious Me) blew out the last little bit,” Mark said. “I’ll look for a junior drivers race, then she can go to to Winton for (Southern Belle) Speed Series heat on December 29th,” he said. Willow ran the mobile 2000m in 2:30.2 (2:00.8 mile rate) in the hands of Tim Williams, the winner pacing her last 800m in 57.2s and final 400m in 27.4s. Strike On Command, a catch drive for Wayne Higgs, tailed the five horse field and wasn’t asked for a serious effort in the run home. Rocker Band, the qualified but unraced 3YO filly by Rocknroll Hanover from 2005 New Zealand Cup winner Mainland Banner (1:55.1), shaped well winning a C0 mobile pace. She backed up a good finish at the workouts a week earlier by coming from back and wide to run down raceplaced Nui Toc Tien, the latter a newcomer to the Steve Dolan team. Rocker Band won the mobile 2000m heat in 2:34.9, the leaders running their last 800m in 58.8s and final 400m in 28.8s. The Greg Brodie-owned Rocker Band could make her race debut at Winton on December 20. “She’s not paid up for anything, but we could make the $14,000 late payment for the Nevele R with her,” Mark said. Rocker Band was put aside after she beat Storm Maguire, Whitershadeofpale and Maritime Arden, in a 2000m qualifier (2:02 rate) at Rangiora in April. Qualified but unraced Bettor Luck (4g Bettor’s Delight-Pocket Conquest, by In The Pocket-Victor Supreme), battled away for third behind Danielle Van De Camp and As Kiwi As in his C0 heat in 3:29.9 (2600m). Bettor Luck trailed up for Michelle Neilson. He has taken time after running fifth of seven in his qualifier at Ashburton in November last year. Kowhai Sunrise, resuming, led up in the C1-3 trot but broke and failed to settle in the run home, allowing Clifden Clowers to beat Sunrise Invasion in 3:30 (2600m). Courtesy of Mark Jones Racing Stables - Check site here

A skeletal scinitgraphy bone scan test has revealed some general joint issues could be affecting last season’s Trotter of the Year, Master Lavros. Overport Lodge trainer Mark Jones sent the giant Sundon gelding to Matamata to undergo the scinitraphy test after Master Lavros mixed his gait in his early racing this season. The test, which results in the production of two-dimensional images after the internal administration of a radiopharmaceutical dye imaging agent, found signs of general wear and tear in his front joints and stifles. “The report said to just carry on with him,” Mark said. “So we will treat him with irap, then swim him for a few weeks and carry on as it’s a thing that has to be managed and a long spell won’t fix.” “I would love to get back to the Glenferrie Challenge with him,” he said. The Glenferrie Farm Challenge is a $A200,000 Group One trot staged at Tabcorp Park, Menangle, New South Wales, on March 1. Mark was hugely disappointed Master Lavros broke stride at the start of this year’s Glenferrie Challenge over 1609m, after trialling boldly in the lead-up. Master Lavros returned to New Zealand, regaining his best in the NZ Trotting Championship and Cannam Rowe Cup, before being spelled. Mark is keen to show Australia trot fans what Master Lavros can do when he’s in form. Master Lavros, only six, has raced 36 times for 15 wins, earning $358,646 in stakes for owner Kypros Kotzikas. Courtesy Of Mark Jones Racing Stables - Check site here

Astrapi isn’t the type you’d want to play cards with but he behaved himself for boss Mark Jones at the Timaru harness racing meeting on Saturday, November 22. Mark stepped him safely from the inside of the back row to be soon trailing three back, but his chances didn’t look good after being held up by the tiring Final Secret at the 400 metres. The former world champion driver manoeuvred him off the markers and gradually let the enigmatic squaregaiter gather top speed in the run home . Mark didn’t risk releasing Astrapi’s removable deafeners. Astrapi, the younger brother to 2006 Moonee Valley Interdominion Trot champion Delft (1:53, US), charged through gaps to win going away by three-quarters of a length from Heza Mighty Monarch, resuming for Nigel McGrath. The winner had loomed as a distinct danger at Ashburton during NZ Cup week before mixing his gait in side the final 200 metres. Mark was confident Astrapi wasn’t far away from a win, providing he held his gait throughout. Astrapi was notching his first win since scoring at Forbury Park in December last year for driver Ricky May. The 5YO Sundon-Miriam gelding was recording his third win from only 23 starts for Lavros Lodge owner Kypros Kotzikas. Mr Kotzikas has also bred other good winners in Lavra Miriam (four NZ wins, 1:57.4), Top Notch Lavros (five NZ wins) and minor winner Lavros The Great from Miriam, a Chiola Hanover mare from Carol Seth, who won three. Meanwhile, results from tests to Mr Kotzikas’ top trotter Master Lavros should be known by the end of next week. Courtesy Of Mark Jones Racing Stables - Check site here    

Hellavahanover has been withdrawn from the Timaru meeting on Saturday and is leaving the Mark Jones stable to do her future racing in New South Wales. The 4YO Brylin Boyz mare is being sent to Sydney trainer Joe Rando after being pulled up for the second consecutive time with suspect stand start manners at Addington on Show day when driven by Tony Herlihy. The Rando stable has had success with a close relative in Romper’s Monarchy (5m Monarchy-Amandas Gem), who has won four from 20 starts and scored back-to-back Tabcorp Park, Menangle, wins last month. Hellavahanover did step off the unruly off 20m and proved too good in a C0-1 trot at the Tuapeka meeting at Forbury on October 26 for driver Blair Orange. She was also a maiden winner at Auckland over 2200m from a stand in March, first-up in her northern stint for Gareth Dixon. Hellavahanover, from a half-sister to Romper Stomper (2:00.1 mile rate 2600m, 12 wins & $180,579) and two-race winner Amanda’s Flash, won two of 15 NZ starts. Courtesy Of Mark Jones Racing    

Top squaregaiter Master Lavros will be sent to Matamata for further extensive tests after mixing his gait in the Dominion Handicap at Addington on Friday. Last year’s Dominion winner and the reigning Trotter of the Year hasn’t been 100 percent this spring. Despite the efforts of trainer Mark Jones to turn him round for Show day, the huge Sundon gelding gave further evidence of a hidden issue troubling him. “We’ll send him to Matamata and get them to run the dye through him,” Mark said. “We’re getting nothing the way we’re going so we’ll find out exactly what it is and let mother nature take its course ,” he said. The Overport trainer is prepared to give Master Lavros as much time as he needs to regain full health. Master Lavros, only six and young for a trotter, is the veteran of only 36 starts for 15 wins and earnings of $358,646. He stepped well from the inside of the back row on Friday, settling third, but broke when moving up in the open with 2450m left. He was out of contention thereafter, finishing 11th to runaway winner Jaccka Justy, for Westwood Beach (south Dunedin) co-trainer and driver Jonny Cox. The winner backed up was  backing up from a fast late finish for fifth in Tuesday’s NZ Trotting Free-For-All. Settling five back on the outer after beginning off the unruly, Jaccka Justy improved with three-wide cover behind Doctor Hook from the 700m to the turn and unleashed an undeniable run turning for home. Jonny Cox, who trains with partner Amber Hoffman, couldn’t hide his delight, saluting as he crossed the line, the winner clocking a strong 4:05.2 for the 3200m. The successful strike-rate trainer emulated a great family tradition with squaregaiters. Jonny was just nine when former family hero David Moss won the first of his two back-to-back Dominion Handicaps at Addington in 1993. Jonny’s father John Cox prepared the giant-sized Gekoj gelding David Moss at Winton for the first 15 of 31 wins. David Moss went on to win just over $490,000 in stakes. Due to southern commitments, John Cox sent David Moss to Canterbury trainer Robert Cameron for both Dominion wins, and for feature north racing to former Papakura trainer Clive Herbert. Jonny’s late grand-father, Harry Cox, a successful Winton trainer, prepared and drove Poupette for an upset win in the 1965 Interdominion Trotting Grand Final at Forbury Park. This was Jonny and Amber’s first Group One training success in the $255,000 feature, securing the $137,500 winning bankroll for owner, Charlie and Ailsa Small. Last season, they gained a Group Three win with the same horse in the Banks Peninsula Trotting Cup. Jaccka Justy has now raced 49 times for 13 wins and five placings for $224,718 in stakes. The Westwood Beach trainers and Overport Lodge trainer Mark Jones have built up a good rapport during their training careers. They have been able to utilise each others facilities when their respective horses travel around the South Island for racing opportunities. Courtesy Mark Jones Racing Stables - Check site here  

Promising squaregaiter Eyre I Come is likely to try for a Cup week double on Show Day. Overport Lodge trainer Mark Jones says he plans to race him again on Friday providing the 4YO Majestic Son gelding eats up over the next two days. Eyre I Come got favourite punters away to a flyer in the opener on NZ Cup day, Tuesday, November 11. The $2.80 favourite stepped slowly but safely in the C2 and faster $20,400 Garrards Horse & Hound Handicap Trot over 3200m. Eyre I Come, a close relative of recent top Victorian-trained squargaiters Sundon’s Gift and Let Me Thru, was sent to the front at the mid-way point. He ran out the extreme trip strongly for driver Blair Orange, striding clear by three lengths over Queen Kenny, who tracked him over the final 1600m. The winner trotted the journey in a useful 4:07.8, keeping the pace strong over his last 800m in 59.2s and final 400m in 30s, suggesting he could be a future Dominion Handicap contender. “I was rapt with his effort,” Mark said. “The Harness Jewels (Ashburton, May 30) is the long-term aim with him.” “I’m thinking of going to Geraldine with him (November 29) then spelling him.” Mark says the $25,000 Four & Five-Year-Old Trotting Championship at Addington on March 20 will be his first aim after a let-up. Eyre I Come, raced by Grant Hatton of Christchurch, with Merv and Meg Butterworth, of Melbourne, is now unbeaten in both 4YO starts. From just nine starts, he’s now the winner of three for $27,004. Eyre I Come is bred to develop further being a grandson of former top NZ trot mare Landora’s Pride, who numbered 34 wins including the 1988 Dominion Handicap and 1987 Rowe Cup. Courtesy Of Mark Jones Racing Stables - Check site here  

A pretty low key harness racing meeting at Wyndham today was elevated to a higher status by the the win of the talented 3 year old Changeover filly, Supriya. When she won race two for the fillies and mares in the hands of Matthew Williamson, Supriya recorded win number 1000 for Cran Dalgety as a trainer since he first took out a licence in 1992. A son of legendary horseman Jim Dalgety, Cran has been near the top of the trainers list in New Zealand for several years and has has been outstandingly successful in his raids on the premier Australian races over many years. Cran won the New Zealand premiership in 2013 and is a major player these days in many group races in Australasia. The first top horse to emerge from Kentuckiana Lodge not long after Cran started as a trainer was the great Desperate Comment who won 22 races and $788,617 in stakes for Cran. A win in the Easter Cup in New Zealand and the Victorian Cup in Melbourne along with placings in the Inter-Dominion and Auckland Cup by Desperate Comment put the young trainer on the map. From there it has been onwards and upwards and Cran has rarely gone for any period of time without a topliner in his barn. The next star from Kentuckiana Lodge was the brilliant juvenile Smiling Shard who by the time he was retired to stud had wracked up 17 wins and $1,165,007. As a 2 year old Smiling Shard won the new Zealand Sires Stakes Final, the Harness Jewels and the Australasian Breeders Crown while as an older horse he ran a great second in the Hunter Cup. Bettor's Strike (16 wins) ($890,201) struck around the same time winning a $400,000 Victorian Cup and ran a neck second to Monkey King in the $1,000,000 New Zealand Cup. Cran presently has two out and out champions in the barn in the form of the dual Australasian Breeders Crown winner in Bit Of A Legend (18 wins) ($747,804) and last seasons Australasian Grand Circuit champion in Christen Me (21 wins) ($1,104,654) One race that has eluded Cran to date is the New Zealand Cup with Bettor's Strike (2nd) and Christen Me (3rd) his best performers to date but with the form wave the stable is riding at the moment that could all change on Tuesday at Addington. It is not only horses that Cran turns out at Kentuckaina Lodge with two of the best junior drivers ever in the history of harness racing in New Zealand getting their grounding with Cran. Mark Jones went on to win the World Driving Championship while Dexter Dunn is already recognized as one of best drivers ever produced in the shaky isles. To cap it off Cran is one of the nicest people you could ever wish to meet. Always obliging and then some to the media, Cran deserves all the kudos that he regularly receives. Now if Christen Me could just put his best foot forward on Tuesday and really make this a time to remember for the popular West Melton trainer. Harnesslink Media

Master Lavros, last year’s Dominion Handicap winner and Trotter of the Year, had two days out in the paddock this week to help get over a mixed run at Kaikoura on Monday. Overport Lodge trainer Mark Jones and his Woodend-based right-hand man Regan Todd are doing their best to get the top trotter  back to where he needs to be by next Friday, but time is against them. Mark is aware he faces a big challenge to get Master Lavros back to his best. “He’s just got a few little issues. He would get away with it pacing in his hopples but he’s a trotter and when he broke the other day he made a real mess of things.” “If he’s right he can still win the Dominion but I haven’t got long to turn him round, so we might be pushing things uphill a bit.” Mark said. There was better news for the stable at Wednesday’s NZ Cup trials at Addington with promising 4YO squaregaiter Eyre I Come giving another good display. Eyre I Come, an acceptor for the C2 and faster Garrards Horse & Hound Trot over 3200m to open NZ Cup day proceedings, stepped safely on Wednesday. The Majestic Son gelding trailed early for race driver Blair Orange, then took over again with 1700m to run. He was always travelling well, scoring by 2 3/4 lengths over Tuesday race rival Jayceekay in 3:28.7 for the stand start 2600m in the slushy conditions. Eyre I Come quickened over his last 800m in 59.9s and his final 400m in 28.2s. and looks ready for Cup day. Courtesy Of Mark Jones Racing Stables - Check site here

Harness racing often has horses that one describes as the "bridesmaid" due to their ability to always find one better on raceday. Such was the case with the Monarchy gelding Sheemon all through his 3 year old career with Habibti, Royal Aspirations and Blitzemcalder all having the wood on him at that stage. At four Sheemon started to beat those same horses with a win in the Harness Jewels and a close second to the reigning trotter of the year in Master Lavros in the Rowe Cup among the highlights. This season at five, Sheemon looks to be back better than ever and if yesterdays win in the open class trot at Kaikoura is any guide, then Sheemon looms as the major danger to Stent over the Cup week features. At his last start before Kaikoura at Ashburton, Sheemon had uncharacteristically broken twice but yesterday was back to his reliable self. Stepping well from barrier one, Sheemon settled three back on the inner early as Lotalov lead with Donaldson in the trail. After 800 metres Dexter Dunn moved Sheemon out into the running line and had a look for the front but David Butt on Lotalov wasn't keen on handing up so Sheemon settled in the death seat. Passing the 600 metres Sheemon surged to the front and set sail for home and that was the last anyone saw of him as he distanced a quality field. What made the run even more impressive was Sheemon set a new New Zealand record in the process. taking four tenths of a second off the previous mark. Sheemon trotted the 2400 metres from a stand in 3:00.6, a mile rate of 2:01 with closing sectionals of 58.5 and 30.5 Donaldson stuck on well for second albeit 5 1/2 lengths away while Irish Whisper was ok in running into third, a further 6 lengths back. Dexter was full of praise for Sheemon after the race.  " He is such a lovely horse to drive "He went to the front on his own down the back and when I clicked him up at the 400 metres he took off" he said Dexter was keen to put the Ashburton run behind him. "We took the overcheck off at Ashburton and it back fired on us "It was back on today and it  is staying on" he said The disappointment of the race was last years trotter of the year in Master Lavros who broke early and settled back before getting a charmed run up on the inner. He had run into third 50 metres out before galloping again and was disqualified. While the huge trotter is unsuited to the tight flat track at Kaikoura, his trainer Mark Jones is running out of time to sort the champion trotter out with Cup week only seven days away. With his manners and the form he is in Sheemon looks to be in a great position to finally rid himself of that "bridesmaid" tag in the Group One features over Cup week. Harnesslink Media  

Kentuckiana Lodge filly Delightful Lana tried hard but wasn’t quite good enough to hold out the short-priced Allstars favourite in Fight For Glory in the $25,000 Alabar Sires Stakes Fillies Heat at Addington on Friday October 31. The two leading stables reps went head to head over the final lap. They had lengths on their rivals as the top two duelled it out in a 1:55.8 mile rate (1950m), showing no respite over their last 800m in 55s and final 400m in 27s. The winning time of 2:20.4 was fast but outside the NZ 3YO fillies mark of 2:19.1 (1:54.7) rate, set by last season’s age group champ Venus Serena in the G1 Nevele R Fillies Final on May 10. Delightful Lana held the inside running from the ace barrier, with Fight For Glory, after having no luck getting into the running line from the four gate into the first turn, forced to move up parked. The honours in this round went to Fight For Glory, the daughter of Art Major and the first foal from seven-win NZ mares record-holder Breath Of Life (2:39.8, 2200m), who did just enough to score by a head in the hands of co-trainer Natalie Rasmussen. She was first-up since her top 2YO filly season, but had trialled strongly for the Allstars barn in recent weeks. Fight For Glory won two of seven juvenile starts but was also placed four times and her worst run was a fourth in the Harness Jewels.. She was very good running a nose second from the second row to Joanne’s A Delight in the G1 $138,000 Magness Benrow Sires Stakes Fillies Championship (1:55.4 rate, 1700m), and also a length second to Katy Perry in the Listed $146,250 PGG Wrightson NZ Yearling Sales 2YO Fillies Final (1:56.7 rate, 1700m, both at Auckland in May. Fight For Glory wrapped up her 2YO racing with a close-up strong-finishing fourth behind stablemates Supersonic Miss and Linda Lovegrace, and the Nigel McGrath-trained Joanne’s A Delight, in the G1 Harness Jewels 2YO Fillies Diamond (1:54.1 mile) at Cambridge on May 31. Delighful Lana was a sound but luckless seventh in the Jewels (racetimed in 1:55.2), making ground after settling back on the inner. Fight For Glory and Delightful Lana drew out by 4 1/4 lengths in their Addington clash, with lightly-raced Mark Jones-trained Bettor’s Delight filly Twice The Delight, finishing on late from four back on the markers to grab third. The marker line was the place to be in such a fast run. BB’s Inspiration, three back on the inner, fought solidly for fourth, with Lightning Mach, having her first run in a feature fillies race, peaking inside the last 100m after having every chance in the trail behind Delightful Lana, to wind up fifth. Margarita, given the run of the race on outer behind Fight For Glory by Jeremy Markham, was unable to quicken on the fast speed in the run home, battling away to finish next. Bettor Think Twice, after being eased from her wide gate early, made a dab three wide down the back at the 600m, but couldn’t progress further over the fast final 800m. Courtesy Of Cran Dalgety Racing Stables - Check site here  

The second heat of this years Sires Stakes heats for 3 year old fillies is up for decision at the harness racing meeting at Addington tonight and it is chock full of talent. Leading the charge is one of last years top 2 year old fillies in Fight For Glory who has drawn perfectly at barrier four in the 1950 metres race and is to be driven by co-trainer Natalie Rasmussen. The daughter of Art Major won $83,936 as a 2 year old and has come back in fine fettle according to her other co- trainer Mark Purdon. " Fight For Glory is very forward for Friday night. "She has been in work a long time and has come up really well," he said. But Fight For Glory is going to have to do just that with several talented race hardened fillies lining up against her. Cran Dalgety has four involved and they all have form on the board and are ready according to Cran. “Its a good race being worth $25,000 so we thought we’d go for numbers.” “On paper, Delightful Lana is going the best of ours and has the one draw but you have to respect Fight For Glory from the four gate” he said The winner of her last two races including a brilliant last start effort to score in 1:55.9 for the mile in trying conditions, Delightful Lana will have the leading reinsman Dexter Dunn in the bike. Of his other three runners Cran is leaning towards Lightning Mach who has won three from five lifetime and won her season debut at Tuapeka last Sunday. In form reinsman Blair Orange will take the drive. "Lightning Mach has drawn one on the second row and ideally if Delightful Lana can lead she could trail and be our next best.” " Our other two runners in Margarita and Bettor Think Twice are both capable of featuring too, but they’ll probably have to fight out for whats left from where they have drawn,” he said. An interesting runner is the Mark Jones trained filly Twice The Delight who has looked very promising in a brief career to date and will have her trainer in the bike tonight. "She is a really nice filly in the making but is still at the learning stage. "This is a massive step up so I will be interested to see how she competes,” he said. On paper Fight For Glory looks hard to roll but Delightful Lana, Lightning Mach and Margarita all look capable of upsetting the favourite. Harnesslink Media

Course specialist Strike On Command stretched his unbeaten run to four wins in as many Forbury starts when delivering at the Tuapeka meeting on Sunday, October 26. The Mark Jones-trained McArdle gelding completed a winning double for the stable and in-form driver Blair Orange at Forbury, with Hellavahanover bouncing back to winning form in the day’s opener. Blair notched a quartet of Tuapeka wins, also scoring with Bit Of A Legend’s younger brother Lookofalegend and Change Time, both for West Melton trainer Ken Barron. Strike on Command was well-rated by Blair, settling three back on the outer, then making a move to be parked briefly with a lap to run. He had cover coming with Aidan’s Rocket working to parked at the 750m, then wore down the Nathan Williamson-trained Aidan’s Rocket in the run home, scoring by a neck. He paced the 2200m (stand) on the sticky track in 2:50.6, the leaders running their last 800m in 58.3s. Strike On Command is raced by New South Wales owner Kevin Stanley, who also raced his Bettor’s Delight half-sister Cotton Row (three wins, TT, 1:57.8), and is now breeding from the latter. Both Strike On Command and Cotton Row are from a good- winning OK Bye mare 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. Noble Strike scored another 15 wins in North America, earning the equivalent of $149,602. She (Noble Strike) 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). Hellavahanover, who returned to the Mark Jones stable after a stint with Gareth Dixon in the north last term, winning first-up at Auckland in March, was also good fresh on Sunday. First-up since being pulled up at the Kurow meeting in early August, Hellavahanover didn’t put a foot wrong off the unruly mark over 2200m at Tuapeka. Blair improved with her to a one back-one out trailing spot with 1400m to run, had her out and running at the 400m and she did enough to hold favourite Springfield Eyre (who tracked her from the 1400m) by a neck. The 4YO Brylin Boyz-Malabar Hanover mare trotted 2:59.8 for the trip when the track was slushy. Hellavahanover is the first foal from her Malabar Maple dam, a half-sister to former top NZ trotter Romper Stomper (2:00.1 mile rate 2600m, 12 wins & $180,579), and the two-race trot winner Amanda’s Flash. Romper Stomper trotted a NZ mobile 2600m record, at the time, of 3:14.2 (2:00.1 mile rate) when he won the Group One 2007 $75,000 NZ Trotting Free-For-All at Addington onShow day, when beach-trained by Robbie Holmes. Now 15 and living out retirement as a hack, Romper Stomper was co-raced by Cambridge trainer John Dickie with Hamilton’s Phil Sherley, also a co-owner of Hellavahanover. Meanwhile, Classiebee, who previously won five for the Mark Jones stable, won first-up since transferring to Roxburgh trainers Geoff and Jude Knight at the Tuapeka meeting. Classiebee, largely due to a well-rated front-running drive from Rory McIlwrick, lasted to just hold fast-finishing favourite Titan Banner in a C1-2 pace. Courtesy Of Mark Jones Racing Stables - Check site here        

One of the most progressive winners at yesterday's harness racing meeting at Ashburton would have to be the beautifully bred trotter, Eyre I Come. He gained his first win for Melbourne owners Merv and Meg Butterworth, who joined co-owner Grant Hatton in the ownership in April. The grandson of former 1987 Rowe Cup and 1988 Dominion Handicap-winning mare Landora’s Pride (34 wins & $472,842) rounded out a hat-trick of wins on Sunday-Monday of Labour weekend for Overport Lodge trainer Mark Jones, and in-form driver Blair Orange. Eyre I Come was first-up since breaking at despatch point and finishing unplaced in the Group One Northern Trotting Derby on May 9. The Majestic Son gelding also mixed his gait in his other two northern campaign races before spelling, but he was foolproof in Monday’s C1-2 Anderson Photography & Design Trot victory. After settling back on the outer, improved wide turning in and lengthened stride to a nicety at the business end, scoring by half a length from late finisher Mel Gibson in a useful 3:05.4 for the stand start 2400m. The winner was timed over his last 800m in 57.6s. The Butterworths’ secured the share of the gelding’s former Woodend trainer David Gaffaney, who qualified him and prepared him for his debut win at Timaru in February. Mark Jones initially selected Eyre I Come at the New Zealand Premier Yearling Sales for Mr Hatton, who races Auckland Cup placegetter Saveapatrol from the stable. However, Mark felt the well-bred youngster would benefit from his early development with Gaffaney, who had more time to spend moulding him. Eyre I Come didn’t come cheap, being a $45,000 yearling, but is bred to win races and Mark thinks he’ll improve further. His year younger half-brother Springbank Eden (by Angus Hall), beat the only maidens in a C0 trot at Waikouaiti in March for Oamaru trainer Phil Williamson. Their dam Landora’s Special (Sundon-Landora’s Pride, by Game Pride-Landora) won four trotting and is a half-sister to Landora’s Gift, who also won four. Landora’s Gift, voted the NZ 2YO & 3YO Trotting Filly of the Year in 1995-96, famously bred on as the Chiola Hanover dam of champion NZ-bred but largely Australia-raced Sundon’s Gift (1:54.3, 41 wins & $1.2 million), who not only won the 2010 Rowe Cup at Auckland for Chris Lang but also the 2010 Interdominion Trotting Grand Final at Mooney Valley, and numerous other Australian features. Another daughter of Landora’s Pride, herself a Victoria Dullard Cup winner across the Tasman, in Invasion’s Pride (six wins, and runnerup in a Australasian Breeders Crown 3YO Trot Final) also left a topliner in the brilliant Let Them Thru (2:00, 2240m, 19 wins from 30 starts for $A453,945), the runnerup to I Can Doosit in the 2011 Interdominion Trotters Final at Auckland. Courtesy Of Mark Jones Racing Stable    Check site here     

Harness racing legend Peter Jones and his son Mark Jones have had a week they would rather forget after falling foul of the TCO2 levels in separate hearings before the JCA this week. Peter's case revolved around an elevated TCO2 reading of 37.3 returned by J C Skipper who he trains with his wife Leonne at Lavros Lodge. The race in question was at Addington on August 22nd in which J C Skipper finished second when driven by Mark Jones. It is obvious from reading the hearing transcript that there is no suggestion that Peter and Leonne administered alkalizing agents to J C Skipper before the Addington race but the TCO2 level set at the time of 35 means that they are guilty of presenting a horse with a level in excess of 35. Peter when training on his own account had over 4000 starters with no integrity issues over all that time and since training in partnership with his wife Leonne had another 550 starters and this inquiry with J C Skipper is the first and only time they have ever been before the JCA. However as the rule stands of absolute liability, they were found guilty and were fined $2500 Mark's case revolves around the testing of Remiss at Forbury Park on the 5th of June 2014. Sent south by Mark who remained at his base in Canterbury, Remiss returned a TCO2 level of 36.2 in pre race testing and Mark was charged in accordance with the absolute liability provision. Again there was no suggestion from the counsel for the prosecution that any alkalizing agents had been administered by Mark or any of his staff. The TCO2 level of 35 has a threshold variance of 1 which means that Remiss was 0.2 over the limit which triggers a prosecution. Mark argued that the time of the testing which was two hours before Remiss was due to race meant it was highly likely that at the time of racing, Remiss was under the TCO2 level of 36 which triggers a prosecution. Two other occasions when Remiss was tested on raceday saw Remiss return levels of 35.6 at Forbury on June 27th and 34.6 at Addington on July 4th. Mark has two weeks to make submissions on penalty although he is still considering an appeal at this time. While everyone in the industry wants a level playing field and supports the Racing Integrity Unit's efforts in providing the same, it does appear that innocent people are being caught by the regulations through no fault or acts of their own. View P + L Jones decision here                                       View M Jones Article here Harnesslink Media

The aptly-named Twice The Delight passed her first step toward a potential Southland Oaks target in the autumn with a tidy front-running debut win at Gore on Saturday, October 11. The daughter of Bettor’s Delight and Trelise (Holmes Hanover-Twice As Good) was sent out a dominating $1.60 favourite on the strength of an impressive recent Rangiora trial and was always in control. Overport Lodge trainer-driver Mark Jones, who brought up his sixth training win for the term, dictated the front end from the three gate. After having former stablemate Rockahula Arden for company over the last lap, was too good in the run home, winning by 1 1/4 lengths in a 2:00.4 rate (1700m). Mark was entrusted with Twice The Delight after she failed to attract a bid at the 2013 NZ Premier Yearling Sale. A cut to a leg a week from the sales distracted potential buyers. Southland breeders, Wyndham-based Bruce and Caroline Robertson, and Bathan and Jane Muir, of Edendale, decided to leave her with Mark and restructured her ownership. The Robertsons’ and the Muirs’, along with Bathan’s parents Ken and Jill, combined under the Matai Farms Limited banner. Other shares were taken by Bill and Pauline Bain, of Roxburgh; and Peter and Caroline Clulee, of Mosgiel. Twice The Delight, who continues to strengthen, has plenty going for her on breeding. She is a sister to three-win squaregaiter Bet Online, but hails from a big “black type” winning pacing family. Their four-win dam Trelise (1:58.7, 1700m) is a daughter of five-win Butler BG mare Twice As Good (1:56.5 m.r., 1700m). Trelise is a half-sister to the smart pacers, St Barts (1:57 m.r., 1950m, 15 wins & over $150,000), Waitfornoone (1:55.7 m.r., 1700m, 11 wins & $201,805), Fight Fire With Fire (1:56.7, seven wins & $151,656), Twice As Hot (1:59.6 m.r, 2200m, five wins & $50,537) and Mark Dennis (1:54.2, 25 wins & $A177,567). Two close relatives starred across the Tasman last weekend. Mark Dennis won first-up since transferring to the New South Wales team of Shane Tritton in the $A30,000 Group Three ffa at Menangle, NSW, on Saturday night, in a 1:57.4 rate over 2300m. Twice As Hot’s son Flaming Flutter (1:53.9, 15 wins & $A190,446) shone at Tabcorp Park, Melton, Victoria, on Friday night. The son of Bettor’s Delight and Twice As Hot was just outside Carribean Blaster’s Melton 2240m stand start track mark when taking out the Group Two $A50,505 City Of Melton Plate in a fast 1:57.6 rate. Twice The Delight’s third dam Princess Nandina (1:59.8) left top USA filly/mare Pacific (p2, 1:56.8 & p3, 1:53), the winner of 27 race for $871,550 including a Breeders Crown 3YO Fillies and Mistletoe Shalee Stakes Final. RUMERATION FOR LAST-PLACED GUGGENHEIM The connections of Gore maiden runnerup Rockahula Arden were ordered to pay  remuneration equivalent to the third-placed stake of $475 to the connections of last-placed Guggenheim under the discretion of new judicial rules. In a first-case scenario, it was established that Rockahula Arden (Dexter Dunn) had shifted out sharply when the removeable deafeners were released, despite the driver’s efforts to keep his horse straight, checking Guggenheim (Nathan Williamson, three wide). Trailing horses, Canasta and Neat N Petite, were also inconvenienced. The connections of Guggenheim sought a JCA ruling, which empowered the Judicial committee to order part, or all, of the stake monies payable if they were satisfied the interference denied the affected runner a chance to finish in a higher place. Courtesy Of Mark Jones Racing - Check site here    

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