They were on the same team 19 years ago, but last night Cran Dalgety and Mark Jones went into battle on opposite sides of the fence.
And the former boss to world champion driver Jones came out on top, with Dr Susan leading throughout to win the $150,000 Group 1, setting up another super clash in Sydney next month.
Dalgety trained Dr Susan’s second dam Sparks A Flyin to win the 2001 New South Wales Oaks (then run before the Victoria Oaks) and Mark Jones, the stable driver at the time, was on board.
She went on to finish third in the Victoria Oaks, second in the Australian Oaks, and bounced back to her very-best winning the Breeders Crown in August that year, again with Jones the driver.
Locked in before she even travelled to Australia, Sparks A Flyin and Jones had combined to run second in the New Zealand Oaks behind Shania Patron, and then won the Nevele R Fillies Final.
“That was a great thrill (last night), we’ve raced the breed for three generations and Jonesy of course won the Breeders Crown on her (among others),” said Cran.
It came down to very little on the night between Dr Susan and Mark Jones and Benny Hill’s charge Stylish Memphis. The betting suggested they couldn’t be split, and on the track it took mammoth efforts from both fillies to sort it out.
Down the back in 26.2 (800m to 400m) was the masterstroke from a cool big-race driver in Anthony Butt, and that was the winning of the race, home in 54.3 off the front, Stylish Memphis well under 54.0 her final 800m in being three wide from beyond the 800m mark.
Safedra, the fourth foal from an incredible producer both on and off the track in Sparks A Flyin, went on to win 10 races for Dalgety and placed second in the 2013 New Zealand Oaks behind none other than champion filly and mare Adore Me.
She went to stud and left Buzinga (three NZ wins then exported), then a now Group One winner, Dr Susan.
In another twist of irony Jones paid $100,000 plus for third foal La Rosa at the National Sales in 2019, a Bettor’s Delight full-sister to Dr Susan, and likes her.
They now get back on the road to Sydney where the heats and final of the New South Wales Oaks ($200,000, February 29) awaits them.
Dalgety is one up in the series – Jones is looking to even the score with the old boss.