Atom Of Courage kicks season off

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The Mark Jones Racing Stables kicked off the new season the right way when Atom Of Courage led virtually end-to-end at the Invercargill Harness Racing Club’s meeting on Sunday, August 1.

The only downside for trainer Mark Jones was that the win came a day too late to take advantage of a 3YO handicapping win concession.

“It was just a bit of bad timing with him turning four overnight,” Mark said.

Atom Of Courage again showed his liking for the front-end, with Mark saying he probably relaxes a bit better there.

Driver Regan Todd had no concerns in the run to the line holding out favourite Artique (Dexter Dunn) by 2 1/2 lengths in a 2:02.7 mile rate for the mobile 2200m.

The Courage Under Fire-Trustee Mota gelding showed a good turn of foot over his last 800m in 56.7s and his closing 400m in 26.8s.

“He went good. He got the right run in front and finally showed what he can do, even though it was a step down in class,” Mark said.

“I was going to turn him out but since he’s found form we’ll carry on,” he said.

The 4YO Superstars Championship at Addington will be in the back of Mark’s mind for the Greg Brodie-owned pacer, providing he can keep going forward.

“It depends whats around at the time. If we can get his confidence up he’ll be an outside chance but he’d be only 50-50 at this stage.”


Capable filly San Fran Lady made the most of the 3YO handicapping concessions by snaring a bonus win at the final Addington meeting for the season on Friday, July 30.

The Mark Jones Racing Stable ended the 2009-10 season with 52 victories with the win.

From 264 starters, they also picked up 33 seconds and 40 third for $572,371 in stakes.

San Fran Lady, now a 4YO Live Or Die mare from Emcil, was notching her third win (only two penalty-bearing) from 15 starts. She has also been placed five times for breeder-owners Frances and Max Bowden.

“She had been under offer but there is still one agent looking at her,” Mark said.

“The only times she has been out of the money is when she’s had an excuse or been knocked over. She’s a lovely honest filly,” he said.

San Fran Lady’s great stand start manners played their part in last Friday’s win.

She led from a wide front row draw into the first bend then trailed Our Mr Darcy before getting a charmed inside passage when the leader ran wide near the 400m.

San Fran Lady joined early breaker Datmymulligan (parked) and fought tenaciously for a 1/2 head win in 2:03.8 mile rate for the 2600m (stand), the leaders running their last 800m in 58.9s.

The Bowdens’ bred San Fran Lady from Emcil, a 3-win Miles McCool mare from the same family as former star pacers Jack Cade (16 wins & $742,232) and Frederick (nine wins, 1:58.1).

Her first foal is stablemate Union Buster, who has won once and been five times placed in 12 starts.