Mark Jones is set to show off even more of his skills as a horseman following his impressive victory with Kowhai Sunset at Rangiora on Sunday.
The colt put himself in Harness Jewels contention when sitting off the speed in a hotly contested two-year-old trot before powering to victory.
The win displayed Jones’ skill as a leading trainer and a former World Champion driver as he produced a more polished version of Kowhai Sunset than seen in his last two starts.
The trainer then pulled out a pinpoint drive behind the colt, bred and raced by John and Jill Hartnell.
Even more of Jones’ horsemanship will be on show on Wednesday when he steps out his first runner as a thoroughbred trainer at Ashburton when Mistletoe starts in race 1.
Jones brought a sense of humour and a touch of modesty when assessing the horse’s chances.
“I didn’t realise but the horse has gone from Jamie Richards to John Bary to Terri Rae to me, so I don’t think I will be able to improve it,” Jones quipped.
“But at least now I can go into the birdcage and get all the good excuses that the jockeys use.”
Jones has had his thoroughbred licence approved so that he can step out Mistletoe, who he also owns.
“I actually quite enjoy the gallopers and it is going to be a good challenge.”
Unlike Mistletoe, Jones obviously does not want to see a strong gallop from Kowhai Sunset any time soon.
The colt made mistakes in two starts after making a solid debut when fourth behind Highgrove at Addington.
On Sunday the trotter showed his true worth, which makes him a horse to follow in the upcoming two-year-old feature trots.
“We will have a go at the Sires Stakes now and then we will look to go up to the Jewels,” Jones said.
“It will be up to the owners if we go up there, we haven’t discussed that yet.”
“Outside of Highgrove you would think he would be pretty competitive with the rest.”
Kowhai Sunset was covered in sweat before and after his victory on Sunday.
That was not a sign the horse had worked himself up or was in need of his run, the trotter is simply a free-sweating type.
Kowhai Sunset is just the second winner in New Zealand for trotting sire Creatine, who is available through Nevele R Stud.
Jones liked what he saw in Kowhai Sunset and planned to buy more of Creatine’s stock at this year’s NZB Standardbred National Yearling Sales but unfortunately missed out.