Bella’s pushing all the right buttons

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Never one to shy away from a challenge or an opportunity; a decision by Mark Jones to purchase a struggling lower grade trotter earlier this year is paying dividends – big time.

Chatting one day with Scott Lethaby, Jones discovered that the well-respected horseman and farrier was running out of patience with his trotter Bella Button who was battling with tie-up and not living up to her full potential.

Experience has led Jones to develop his own training method for horses who struggle with tie-up issues and upon learning that Lethaby felt the mare had a decent amount of ability, he decided to take a chance on the horse and purchased her.

“We actually brought her as a bit of a test horse,” Jones said.

“We’ve got our own tie up work method that we use and the results had shown that it works.

“Scott said she was always tying-up, but that she’d showed him a bit of ability, so we took the risk.”

The results have been almost instantaneous with Bella Button winning all three of her races since joining the Burnham stable with all three wins coming in the space of 11 days.

She won first up at Timaru, with Jones in the bike, then at Wingatui and then at Waimate’s meeting at Oamaru – the latter two occasions when driven by Mark Jones Racing employee, Gemma Thornley.

“She’s been really good, the methods we have been using to help her with the tie up seem to have really done the trick and Scott was right, she’s got a bit of ability.”

A rating 35 trotter when purchased into the stable, Bella Button had won once in 35 starts, but she’s now got four on the board and there’s promise of plenty more – thanks in large through the use of Thornley’s junior concession which means the mare is only penalised half points in the rating system for wins with her in the bike.

“She’s the ideal sort of horse for the junior concession, I can’t figure out why more trainers aren’t using that system as it keeps horse like her really competitive.”

For her three wins, Bella Button has only received nine rating points, compare that to fellow trotting mare Vertigo who won three races in a row earlier in the season and received 18 points.

Bella Button’s run of success has qualified her for next week’s Racing Rewards Series final at Addington but first she’ll contest a decent step up in grade on Friday night at HQ.

Jones is under no illusion it’ll be tough to make it four on end but also knows there are plenty of options ahead.

“She’ll head to the ratings final and then probably just whack away in the lower grades before we probably look at selling her on.”

Jones kept a share in the mare himself, but also brought in stable owner Ross McCutcheon, Laura McKay, Jack Best and Tania Moore into the ownership alongside him.

A daughter of Waterloo Sunset, Bella Button is out of former New Zealand record holder, Gee Abby – a member of the trotting dynasty developed by the late Doug McCormick.

She’s one of six runners engaged for the stable at Friday night’s premier meeting where Sioux Princess will tackle the Group One Fred Shaw Memorial New Zealand Trotting Championship and classy mare La Rose will begin what is her farewell month of racing before heading overseas.

She’ll head to Australia for her future racing at the end of the month.

Helloveamoment, Louie Vista and Major Torque round out the Friday night team before another five runners go around at Addington again on Sunday at the annual Cheviot meeting.

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