Feature Story

J Scott Former News


Electric Ollie bowed out of NZ on a high in the hands of catch driver Natalie Rasmussen at the Northern Southland meeting at Invercargill on Friday, September 27.

“He was well driven,” said trainer Mark Jones.

The horse left Overport Lodge to join Kerryn MannIng’s Victorian stable this week.

Electric Ollie, who will continue to race in Victoria for Melbourne owners Meg and Merv Butterworth, furthered the fast start to the season for trainer Mark Jones with his 10th win for the new term.

The 6YO Washington VC gelding was well-placed to take out the 3-5 wins Panspacificflight@Macca Lodge Mobile Pace. He furthered his good NZ formline, justifying a $1.60 win quote.

Natalie Rasmussen, who won three of four drives at the Invercargill meeting, eased Electric Ollie back to last from the wide gate but improved as forward positions change to work into the one-one sit with 600m remaining.

Electric Ollie stormed to the front at the 200m and held the spirited claim from Run Fatboy Fun to score by three-quarters of a length in a 1:59.6 rate, the leaders running their last 800m in 56.8s and final 400m in 27.7s.

He was well placed to win four of his last six starts for the Jones stable, including the $10,400 Metalcorp NZ Ltd Young At Heart Series Final at Addington on September 6.

Also Australia-bound is maiden The Editor (3c Bettor’s Delight-Easy Falcon), the runnerup to Franco Toulone in his race debut at Oamaru on September 15.

The Editor is to do his future racing in New South Wales.



Fair Dinkum Bromac, given the run of the race in the trail by Blair Orange, turned his form around with his first win for 11 months at Oamaru on Sunday, September 15.


He rallied strongly to hold favourite Cam Before The Storm by two lengths in the Fat Sally’s Bar & Grill Handicap Pace, pacing the 2600m in a smart 3:17 for the 2-3 win grade, the leaders running their last 800m in 57.6s.


Fair Dinkum Bromac notched the first leg of an Oamaru double for the defunct but undeniably successful sire Falcon Seelster.


Franco Ledger, a top-performing entire son by Falcon, scored his second consecutive win in the day’s feature, the Group three $25,000 PGG Wrighston Hannon Memorial,  going only 0.4 of a second quicker over the same trip, however the cup horses were quicker over their last 800m in 54.3s.


The winning turnaround for Fair Dinkum Bromac, the seventh favourite in a nine horse field, stunned co-owner Neil Kingston.


“He was funny,” Mark said.


“He said that he’d been that disappointed for so long he couldn’t get excited !”


It was decided to try a new barn with Fair Dinkum Bromac after earlier winning three for Ashburton trainer John Hay.


Fair Dinkum Bromac won at his fourth start since joining the Overport Lodge stable.


Trainer Mark Jones said Fair Dinkum Bromac is in for another change.


He about to join the new Woodend beach satellite arm of the stable.


“Regan Todd is moving out there in the next week or two as we’ve leased boxes for those we think will benefit from beach training,” Mark said.


It is felt Fair Dinkum Bromac, now seven and the winner of just over $39,000 from four wins and 15 placings from 62 starts, could gain a new lease on life with a change in routine.



Electric Ollie was rewarded for a strong run of spring form, taking out the $10,400 Metalcorp NZ Ltd Young At Heart Series Final at Addington on Friday, September 6, in the presence of Melbourne owners, Merv and Meg Butterworth.

“It was good they were here to see him,” said trainer Mark Jones.

Megmerv mkdElectric Ollie, a 6YO Washington VC gelding from Relentless Lady, added the final to dual heat wins in the series for 6YO or older pacers.

He took his record to six wins and six placings from 36 starts, for $29,441, with the Series Final win.

“It was a good series for the horse, but he might be hard to place now.”

“He’ll probably have a couple of starts and we’ll just see how he handles it before deciding what we’ll do with him,” he said.

“He’s going good. Even in his second-to-last start he went good in the 3-5 win race (fifth behind Blazin N Cullen, Pay Me Cullen, Comply Or Die and Instead Of).”

Electric Ollie didn’t have it easy again from the eight gate in the final, but was once again well rated by Blair Orange.

Eased out of the early rush, “Ollie” was on the three wide train over his last mile in 1:59, improving to parked at the 600m, then running past pacemaker Simon Sivad in the straight to score by 3/4 of a length.

Blair didn’t have to turn the whip, getting him home comfortably with a reins drive over the leaders last 800m in 57.1s and final 400m in 27.8s.

Stablemate Fair Dinkum Bromac rolled forward to be parked at the 1300m, then after trailing the winner from the 600m was soon beaten.

Earlier on the programme, Holme Fire showed improvement in the opener, the Addington’s Spectators Bar & Bistro Open Soon Mobile Pace, being outfinished late by former Group One-winning juvenile Onlyforyou.

Holme Fire was given every chance from the trail by Mark but couldn’t withstand the storming late finish wide from the winner. who rated 1:59.2 (1950m), the leaders running their last 800m in 57.6s.




Former Invercargill Cup and Pelorus Trust winner Ohoka Texas has been reluctantly been on-sold out of the Mark Jones stable to race in North America.

The six-year-old Christian Cullen entire finished fifth _ 7.6 lengths behind winner Pemberton Shard _ when resuming in the Cromwell Lake Dunstan National Handicap at Addington on August 23.

“Its a real shame losing him as the programming and handicapping means it is near impossible to earn with him,” Mark said.

Otexasrangaction mkd“We are losing too many horses from New Zealand like him to overseas racing. Its terrible when your best horses in the stable becomes your worst because they can’t earn, just like Texican (sold July).”

“We don’t want to lose them but have to make a business decision.”

Ohoka Texas was unable to win in seven starts for the Dallas Cowboys Syndicate, who purchased him last December from Katie, Olivia and Adam Carville.

The 2012 Group Two Pelorus 4YO Classic winner went faster in this year’s Pelorus (January) but had to settle for fourth in the combined 4 & 5YO Pelorus Trust Classic.

Jason Rulz won this year’s Pelorus in a 1:55.5 mile rate (2300m), pipping a fresh Christen Me late, with Major Mark, subsequently sold to West Australian interests, third.

Ohoka Texas then ran a half-length second to Samuel James in a 4-8 wins 2600m handicap at Addington on January 18, and fourth to Franco Ledger in the Group Three Invercargill Cup (won in 3:58.7, 3200m), before being spelled.

He had won the 2012 Invercargill Cup, beating Franco Ledger, in a more comfortable 4:06.2 for the 3200m.

Also at four, he beat Franco Ledger in the Wairio Cup in a smart 2:57.7 for the mobile 2400m, and also paced a 1:54.1 mile to win at Winton.

He leaves New Zealand having raced 37 times for 12 wins and four seconds for $174,342 in stakes.

The Mark Jones stable remained joint early premiership leaders after last weekend’s racing, advancing to five wins when class 3YO Offtocullect made short work of his rivals in the 1-2 wins Party At Tony Browns Place Mobile Pace at Forbury last Thursday (August 29).


Offtocullect mkdThe promising Gotta Co Cullect colt _ now the winner of three and the runnerup to Locharburn at his only other outing _ is being freshened for upcoming Sires Stakes Heat racing.

Offtocullect, who was moved one out in the running line on the first turn by Blair Orange at Forbury, rolled up parked at the 900m.

He strode clear at the 400m and cleared out in the run home, winning by 4 1/2 lengths in a 2:01.2 rate (2200m), the leaders running their last 800m inn 58.9s and final 400m in 27.9s.



A last placing in the middle leg of the inaugural Albion Park drivers series on Saturday ultimately cost Overport Lodge horseman Mark Jones the title.

The former world drivers champ finished just two points behind Queensand’s Bart Cockburn.

Mark began the series on a high, landing the drive behind talented 3YO colt Caesar Augustus in the first Seymour Group Invitation Drivers Championship Heat.

The $3.30 favourite overcame a second row barrier, moving up parked and proving too strong in a $A11,000 MO pace, rating 1:58.4 (2138m).

The colt was second-up after a let-up, having been freshened again after running second to Bebrave in a Australasian Breeders Crown Heat at Menangle on July 16.

Caesar Augustus had been a NSW Sapling Stakes winner at two, and winner of the Group Three Simpson Sprint at Menangle in January. He ran third in the Victoria Derby, and fifths in both the NSW and WA Derbys.

Mark was left parked with outsider Mister Manhattan in the second heat, but the horse tired to finish last, costing him the series.

He bounced back with a second on Demolition Dave in the third heat, but Cockburn’s better overall consistency had him in front.

Cockburn ran second in the first heat, finished fifth in the second, and ran third in the third heat with Navajo Rocky.

Fellow Queenslander Peter McMullen, finished the series with a flurry, taking out the third heat with One Eyed Terror, to finish third overall.

Mark’s fellow Cantab and countryman Blair Orange ran third in the second heat with ex-Southlander Davey J, but had to settle for a seventh and an eighth in the other heat, missing out of a prominent placing.

Outside of the drivers series races, which were done and dusted after the opening three races, Mark checked out former stable runner (My) Jellignite, driving him to finish fourth in the M1-2 $A16,000 End Of Season Championship Final.

Victory went to fellow former Cantab Alberto Contador, who furthered his top form for the Grant Dixon stable.

Alberto Contador, a $2.20 favourite, made the most of a good run handy on the outer to win in a 1:56.7 rate for the mobile 2138m.

The Bettor’s Delight-Princess Alberta gelding extended his Queensland record to nine wins from 11 starts, taking his career earnings to around $A200,000.


Overport Lodge trainer Mark Jones is in the front on the new season trainers premiership after Sage Creek won his maiden at Forbury on Thursday_ Mark’s fourth winner after 15 days of the new term.

However, he says he has no thoughts of trying to stay ahead of the bigger stables.

“We’ll just try and get a few wins before the big guns, Mark (Purdon) and Cran (Dalgety), come back,” he said.

Mark has placed the team to advantage, travelling south twice already.

Sage Creek is to be freshened after the Badlands Hanover gelding delivered at his third start in the Dunedin City Ford Pace on August 15.

The 3YO , given the run of the race on the outer by Blair Orange, did just enough to hold Midnight Mayhem, who rallied well after being held up in the trail on the home turn.

On Sunday, August 11, the stable notched the third win of the new term with promising 3YO colt Offtocullect as a hot $1.40 favourite at Invercargill.

“He’s having a week off. If he’s not sold, we’ll give him his chance in the Sires Stakes Series,” Mark said.

Offtocullect, who credited sire Gotta Go Cullect (Christian Cullen-Elect To Live) with his first siring win when successful on debut at Forbury in March, has now won two of three starts, and finished second to the unbeaten Locharburn in the other.

He was much too good for the maidens at Invercargill, improving wide from the 1400m to lead over the last 1000m.

Offtocullect won easing down from late finisher Jaccka Wilko by 1 1/4 lengths in a 2:01.9 rate for the 2200m, quickening over his last 800m in 58.3s and final 400m in 28s.

He was selected at an Auckland Weanling and All Age Sale, and on-sold to Wayne Higgs in February.

Electric Ollie, already a dual heat winner of the Bedworld _ Young At Heart Series at Addington this month, has returned in good touch for owners, the Butterworth Racing Syndicate.

“Its a good series (6YO or older, 1-3 wins lifetime),” Mark said.

Electric Ollie, a 6YO Washington VC gelding, is now the winner of five (four penalty-bearing) from 32 starts, for $23,511 in stakes.

Freelance driver Blair Orange has teamed up well with Electric Ollie for both heat wins.

“Ollie” rated 1:59.1 for the 2000m in the second heat at Addington on Friday, August 9.

After easing back to last from a wide gate, Electric Ollie swept up wide from the 1050m to take over from Thats Bettor and Simon Sivad with a bold move at the 600m.

He maintained a strong run to win with authority by 2 1/2 lengths, the leaders quickening over their last 800m in 57s and last 400m in 28.6s.



Overport Lodge trainer Mark Jones, despite selling 22 of his team to Australia  last term and sending a further six to race there, racked up 40 NZ wins last season.

Although unable to match hitting 50 in the previous three seasons, it was a pleasing result considering the number exported.

Winning race prizemoney from the NZ operation at $326,489 wasnt far behind the $342,542 total from two seasons ago, when the stable won 51 races.

NZ career winnings from Mark’s training operation are now less than $14,000 short of $2 million, from 232 career training wins.

He achieved the 40 win domestic total with a little help from good mate Blair Orange who found the perfect trip for Ready For Takeoff to score at Addington on Friday, July 19.

Blair OrangeMark had enlisted the help to top freelance driver Blair for some of the winter driving duties as he concentrates on developing his younger stock.

Blair, who won with other stable runners, Rock Till You Drop and Classiebee the previous weekend, has 71 wins on the board this term and just over $1 million in stakes. He has now reached 837 career NZ wins.

Ready For Takeoff, a 3YO Jereme’s Jet gelding owned by the Butterworth Racing, was rewarded for consistency after being the runnerup in three of his previous four starts in the 1-2 win grade.

Blair had him away fast to the early lead, then secured the perfect trail behind favourite Bettor Rock On after the opening 200m.

They were a relaxed until on the back of the leader until presented with the sprint lane. Ready For Takeoff found a good finishing kick to grab the win by half a length in a useful 3:19.4 for the 2600m (stand).

The leaders quickened over their last 800m in 57.8s and final 400m in 28.3s.



The weekend ending July 14, 2013, was a good one for former trainer-driver Carl Nordqvist, and accountant wife Wendy, who had their McArdle colts, Rock Till You Drop and Classiebee, both win for the Mark Jones stable.

The Nordqvists farm an irrigated agistment property near Ashburton.

Back in the 1980s Carl enjoyed success as the driver of 1982 Leonard Memorial (latterly Nevele R Stakes) 2YO fillies winner Bedlam, who won four, and as the trainer-driver of her colt brother Dakota (Noodlum-Betsy Morano), who won seven from just 29 starts including the 1988 Geraldine Cup and 1989 Timaru Centennial Cup.

Carl achieved 19 driving wins but last held a harness racing licence in 1995.

Rock Till You Drop, who notched his maiden win in the Muscara Standardbreds Mobile Pace at Addington last Friday, was knocked down to Carl and Wendy at the 2012 NZ Premier Yearling Sales for $23,000.

Rock T U Drop lot 87Named after a Def Leppard song, he held appeal pedigree-wise being a half-brother by McArdle to former Dean Taylor-trained and Mark Jones-driven New Zealand Free-For-All winner Waipawa Lad (17 NZ wins, 1:52.2, US).

Also a half-brother to useful winners Waipawa Lord (1:56.4, Aust), River Rock (1:57.5 m.r, 1950m) and Waipawa Junior (1:58.4 m.r, 1950m), he belongs to the maternal family of former dual Derby winner & 2005 NZ 3YO Pacer of the Year Badlands Bute, and his sister, 2000 NZ Oaks winner Caps Off (1:52.8), the dam of big Australian winner Captian Cullen (17 wins, 1:54.9).

Rock Till You Drop, rising three, confirmed his promise by beating mostly older maiden pacers at his fourth start.

After trailing three back on the outer, Rock Till You Drop was saved for one run by catch-driver Blair Orange, delivering a well-timed late finish to catch front-running $1.70 favourite Satori.

Rock Till You Drop had a bit of work to do after the leader got away with a leisurely middle half, but showed good speed four wide in the straight to win get up by half a neck.

The winner rated 2:02.9 for the mobile 2000m, being timed over his last 800m in 56.8s and his final 400m in 27.8s.

On Sunday, at Oamaru, Wendy Nordqvist gained her third win with Classiebee, which she races with her parents, Peter and Beryl Boag, who have had numerous success races horses with the “Unique” prefix.

Classiebee provided Wendy with her first win as an owner when he dead-heated at Rangiora for the Jones stable last September.

classiebeThe former $28,000 yearling also won a maiden outright at Forbury in early October, then was spelled in mid November.

With a 3YO win concession, he had another opportunity to win in the maiden grade, being successful at his third start since resuming on May 30.

Found to be off-colour after a fair eighth at Addington in in mid-June, punters remained loyal to Classiebee on Sunday.

Installed a $1.50 favourite, Classiebee worked to the front a lap out in the Fat Sally’s Pub & Restaurant Pace and kept kicking to hold by 1 1/4 lengths.

Classiebee paced the 2000m (stand) in 2:35.9 in the blustery conditions, running his last 800m in 59.5s and final 400m in 27.8s.

He continues to embellish his talented maternal family.

Classsiebee is a grandson of former smart juvenile filly Coma Berenices, who numbered wins in the 1986 Caduceus Club 2YO Fillies Classic among her seven wins.

His dam Cee Bee is an unraced half-sister to Personality Plus (nine wins, dam of former top juvenile sir Clive); Sagitta (five wins, dam of smart winner Smiling Star (1:55.5) and grand-dam of PGG Wrightson Yearling Sales 3YO Open Pace winner Classiesistar); and Stardust speedy mare (TT, 1:55.7; five wins).  




Strike On Command, after a slightly tardy beginning from the stand start, quickly recovered to justify his hot $1.40 win quote, second-up for the Mark Jones stable, at Forbury on June 28.

The promising 2YO McArdle colt took a few strides to click into a pace but then had no problems in accounting for the six-horse maiden field.

Light driver Ricky May found a perfect trail on the outer over the final lap and the colt proved adept in the wet condtions, striding clear of pacemaking second favourite Beaudiene Clementyne (Dexter Dunn) in the closing stages.

Strike On CommandStrike On Command had too much speed when angled into the clear, zipping home to win the Washington VC Pace by 1 1/4 lengths.

He paced the 2200m (stand) in a comfortable 2:53.8, the leaders quickening over their last 800m in 59.4s and closing 400m in 28.1s.

Strike On Command, raced by Australian owner Kevin Stanley, is the first foal from good-winning mare Noble Strike (1:56.8h, US), who numbered a PGG NZ Yearling Sales 2YO Fillies South Island Graduette win and a Nevele R Fillie Heat among her two NZ wins for Ian and Malcolm Shinn.

The OK Bye-TK Swift mare proved a consistent winner in North America, notching another 15 wins, earning the equivalent of $149,602.

She 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).

Time Flies is the dam of former Overport Lodge 2YO winner Glenferrie Magic (1:59.1, 1700m), who showed much potential winning once from three starts before having her race career cut short.

Strike On Command belongs to the same family as other big winners _ Slybye (1:52.4, US, 31 wins in NZ, Aust & the US), El Cabalero (1:54.4, US, 17 wins incl. 12 in the US), Algranco Alive (1:56.2 mile rate, 1650m, 10 Aust. wins) and Flak Jacket (1:54, US, a former NZ Kindergarten Stakes winner at two, 12 wins in NZ, Aust. and the US).

He credited Mark Jones with his 37th training for the season, the now having won $304,275 in the 2012-13 season.




Juvenile pacer Major Sam, who rallied strongly to wear down the leaders first-up at Addington on Friday, will head to the spelling paddock for six weeks, providing he’s not sold to Victorian interests.

Major Sam“We’ve had interest for him, as he is Vicbred eligible, so he will be an attractive buy,” said trainer Mark Jones.

“If he’s not sold, he’ll head to the paddock as there is nothing here for him in upcoming weeks,” he said.

Mark was pleased with his debut effort for driver Anthony Butt to finish best from good late finisher, Graywackee Star, prepared by stable foreman Regan Todd, in the hands of Blair Orange Major Sam’s 2YO debutante stablemate, Strike On Command, was a close-up third after settling handy on the outer for Mark, in an all Overport Lodge-trained trifecta.

The winner, bred by Frances and Max Bowden, and raced by the breeders with son Lyndon, rated 1:59.9 for the mobile 2000m.

It was a strong effort after easing back to third last on the outer, improving wide at the 600m, then being eased out four wide on the home turn after Strike On Command moved out to get his chance.

Major Sam, a colt by fast Art Major stallion Major In Art (p2, 1:50.8 & $US849,154), is the second foal from the unraced Holmes Hanover mare Precocious Arden, a half-sister to Sarkozy (six wins, 1:58.7 mile rate, 2100m, Aust), Arden’s Trump (1:54.2, US) and Blanca Martinez (two wins).

The Bowdens’ were attracted to grand-dam Oh So Precious, as she is from the same family as smart fillies: Steady Lady (1:55.4, US, nine NZ wins, 14 USAwins), Steady Niatross (TT, 1:59), Magnificent Yield (TT, 1:58.4) and 1979 Northern Oaks winner Speedy Girl (six wins).


By Jeff Scott