Willison on sideline with frustrating injury

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Fresh off two super runs at Addington in July where he placed, then won, quality four-year-old Willison has picked up an injury and will likely not be seen on the racetrack again this year.

The Bettor’s Delight gelding had returned in sparkling form, charging home into third first up off a spell with Ricky May in the bike on July 10 behind stablemate Burnham Boy. He quickly followed that up with victory on July 24 with Sam Ottley the driver, beating That Alexander Guy and Franco Niven over 1980m, rating 1:55.7 in coming from last to outsprint them.

Willison, off the scene until 2021

The son of former quality race filly and mare Classical Art (5 NZ wins, 13 AUS wins) is on the rehab list until as far out as Cup week in Christchurch, so his racetrack return will not likely be until well into 2021.

“He was so well, maybe too well and gave his leg a bang in the paddock and has some bruising on the tendon so he’s out for a good six weeks,” said Mark.

“We will then scan him again and see how he is. If it’s 12 weeks and not six, so be it. Hoping it comes right sooner rather than later.

“It’s very annoying, he will miss the major races in Australia (Breeders Crown, Vicbred Series) but the horse comes first and if he stays sound he has the ability to be a very nice horse in the future.”

Willison has won four of just 13 race starts in New Zealand after being brought out the Melbourne APG Sale from breeders Scott and Kathy Robertson by Mark for a number of long-time stable clients.

Sioux Princess goes for three on Sunday

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After a winning double post the lockdown quick trotting mare Sioux Princess is looking to extend that to three on Sunday. Mark offers her chances and the others racing this weekend.

Kowhai Sundown, a value runner providing he does things right


RACE 1 KOWHAI SUNDOWN (13, U4, fr. 2600m stand) Sam Ottley -“We were going to give this week a miss after a couple of trials and two races. But he’s ome through so well, eaten up, so we’ll go again given the 2600m is more suitable to him. Racing good and hoping for some luck.”

RACE 6 LA ROSA (1, fr. 1980m mob) Ricky May, Major Wilson (5) Sam Ottley, Artatac (9) Jim Curtin -“I’ve pulled out a couple to leave is with three. The other two haven’t done as well earlier this week. La Rosa is probably the best one of them if I leaned towards one of them. She’s a progressive filly, not screwed down yet but she will do a good job. Major Wilson should go a nice race, improving out of his trials, a bit weak yet but a nice type for later. Artatac is a big horse, still filling out but pleased enough with his trials and worth him having a run this week.” They are all horses on the way up and will be much the better next season.

RACE 8 UBER EXPRESS (6, fr. 2000m stand) Sam Ottley -“Thrilled with her last week. Regan has done a great job with her on the beach. She is unsound but a smart filly. Hopefully she can back up here, the stand start perhaps an issue but hoping she steps cleanly and she could win again.”


RACE 7 SIOUX PRINCESS (14, U2, fr. 1980m mob) Sam Ottley -“Great to get a penalty free win last week, Sarah drove her very well. Thought about having the week off but the 1980m mobiles are her thing and the way she’s trotting you really need to go around and find out. If she keeps that form up she could win again. Would like to drive her colder as she does have very high speed.”

Kowhai Sundown to lead Addington charge?

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RACE 1 KOWHAI SUNDOWN (2, fr. 1980m mob) Sam Ottley – Really pleased with him first up. A bit of traffic trouble at the quarter cost him a bit of ground but overall a good effort. Should run well again from an ideal draw.”

RACE 8 UBER EXPRESS (8, fr. 2600m stand) Sam Ottley -“She’s been with Regan on the beach, not the soundest horse and she needed the change in training. On ability a chance, hopeful rather than confident.”

RACE 11 LULU LE MANS (7, fr. 1980m mob) Sam Ottley -“A strange race last week and she sprinted up well but just couldn’t make the ground on a fast last quarter in a slowly run race. Tricky alley against some decent opposition but she’s good enough.”


RACE 4 SIOUX PRINCESS (14, U3, fr. 1980m mob) Sarah O’Reilly -“Big win fresh and probably expected her to go good after a trial win. She’s not noted to run two alike but gives us no reason to think she won’t back up and go really good again. Sarah knows her well.”

RACE 6 KOWHAI SHADOW (3, fr. 1980m mob) Sam Ottley -“Obviously a bit disappointed she made some mistakes last week. Still a work in progress. Good draw, will try and use that and see how we go.”

RACE 7 QUEENOFDANCE (10, 10m (2) 2600m stand) Sam Ottley -“Great trip last Friday and thought she’d have run on that bit better. But it was a walking race and didn’t suit us. Off two good trials we’re hopeful for a forward showing here.”

Queenofdance, in action for the Mark Jones stable, and driver Samantha Ottley.

We’re back! Mark highlights the runners at Addington

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RACE 7 SIOUX PRINCESS (14, U6, fr. 2600m stand) Sam Ottley -“Good sharp trial. She’s probably a little more forward than most of mine, just naturally that way. Manners are always key but on her trial win she should go close.”

Queenofdance, in action for the Mark Jones stable, and driver Samantha Ottley.


RACE 1 KOWHAI SUNDOWN (12, U3, fr. 2600m stand) Sam Ottley -“Pleased with him at the trials.Probably a run away yet but we all have to start somewhere. Happy with him so top three is on the cards.”

RACE 8 KOWHAI SHADOW, 4, fr. 1980m mob) Mark Jones & ITZ TO THE MACS (9, fr) Sam Ottley-“Pleased with both. ITZ TO THE MACS perhaps closer to ready than the other one and the draw doesn’t help her. Nice trial win. A progressive filly with a quick win in her. KOWHAI SHADOW is going to keep improving. Place chances look best for both in a good field.”

RACE 10 QUEENOFDANCE (4, fr. 1980m mob) Mark Jones & LULU LE MANS (7, fr) Sam Ottley -“QUEENOFDANCE has trialled really nice in the past couple of weeks and though it’s a tough rating for her against these mares she’s a place chance the way she’s come up. LULU LE MANS is smart at her best. Blew out when she needed it at the trials but it was just what she needed. On her best form she’d worry most, but needs the right run.”

Premier nights chances at Addington

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A solid team for the better stakes on Friday night, likely led by smart comeback trotter Majestic Lavros who tackles the lesser of two options he could have taken.


RACE 1 MICHELLE (1, fr. 2600m mob) Robbie Close, and MAJESTIC LAVROS (12) Sam Ottley -“Michelle re-joined the team after her run at Motukarara last week. Higgsy has her going well. Seems bright and the draw could help. Majestic Lavros could have taken on the 4YO & 5YO race later in the night. But I decided to go with this one, he’s not long been back off a long break from racing and his turn will come. Should be hard to beat.”

Michelle is back in the barn and going well just now.

RACE 3 QUEENOFDANCE (5, fr. 1980m mob) Jim Curtin, and LULU LE MANS (10) Sam Ottley -” Queenofdance also came back to the stable after Motukarara last week. She’s done a handy job. Premier night may test her but she’s s place chance. Lulu Le Mans had no luck behind Stylish Memphis. Craig (Thornley) said he should have finished closer. Issue here the draw again. Looks very tricky.”

RACE 7 WILLISON (6, fr. 1980m mob) Robbie Close, and BURNHAM BOY (7) Sam Ottley -“Really pleased with Willison down south, I thought he’d go good and he did. Goose (Close) drove him that well he stays on board, rightfully so. Tougher task obviously. And it is for Burnham Boy. He’s better suited to a tough 2600m than a speedy 1980m.”

Willison, takes on the Flying Stakes after impressive return in Southland


RACE 3 BRING BACK LEAH (18, fr, 1700m mob) Sam Ottley -“You’d be kidding if you could even think winning was possible from 18 over 1700m.Sounds ridiculous, because it is. She’s going to need a lot of things go right.”

RACE 4 UBER EXPRESS (7, fr. 2000m stand) Sam Ottley -“Really solid first up run and should be better for the experience. Looks to get a nice chance but two or three in there I’d be wary of, too.”

RACE 6 SIOUX PRINCESS, (13, U3, fr. 2600m stand) Sarah O’Reilly -“Likely to miss a run on the ballot at Addington. She’s capable, Sarah knows her now and she’s not far off winning another one.”

Fillies battle with Memphis in Nevele R

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It was decided Stylish Memphis was to stay on with Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen for the remainder of the season after her stint with them in Australia, culminating in a brilliant victory in the $A200,000 NSW Oaks at Menangle.

Ironic really, with Mark having two runners in tonight’s Nevele R heat at Addington and the hardest to beat being Stylish Memphis, a filly he knows only too well.

Stylish Memphis wins the $200,000 John Gibson New South Wales Oaks at Tabcorp Park, Menangle, on February 29.

“Mark being able to drive her as a continuance of that Aussie trip was the major reason (with Ricky May unavailable until next season), apart from the obvious reason they just do such a good job with these good horses,” said Mark.

“Tim Williams drives her this week while Mark and Nat have a wee spell themselves.”

Mark Jones is pleased with his fillies, Plutonium Lady, which he drives, and Lulu Le Mans, to be driven by Craig Thornley for the suspended Sam Ottley but admits beating Stylish Memphis looks a longshot.


RACE 4 PLUTONIUM LADY (2, fr, 1980m mob) Mark Jones, and LULU LE MANS (8) Craig Thornley -“Pleased with Plutonium Lady since she’s been home after a very good run in the Northern Oaks. She draws to lead and looks a very strong place hope at least again. A poor draw for Lulu, she’s not benefitted from winning an earlier heat and now wide under the preferential. Place best.”

RACE 6 SHADOW PHANTASY (4, fr. 1980m mob) Blair Orange -“He’s had a freshen up since last running and went very good that day. May need this but he’s a good follower of speed and a top three chance.”

RACE 8 BURNHAM BOY (6, fr. 1980m mob) Mark Jones -“Good win in Cheviot Cup and I expected him to only improve off that run. Meets a good field, no doubt about that, but he has stepped up when asked before. Place chance.”


RACE 11 WILLISON (12, fr. 2400m mob) Robbie Close -“Back off a break and he seems well. Good trial leading in and a chance to win this if things went his way, I think he’s up to these on class.”


RACE 3 BRING BACK LEAH (6, fr. 2000m mob) Glenys Chmiel -” She raced quite good at the Coast and due to break through soon. Glenys gets the drive with Sam suspended this weekend and she’s thrilled to be on as she is her favourite horse at the stables and loves driving her. And, Glenys is in red hot form.”

Lady leads way at Addington

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Benny has been doing much of the work with Plutonium Lady of late and he’s expecting a big run from the classy filly at Addington tonight.

Plutonium Lady and Sam Ottley, looking good at Gore. (Bruce Stewart photo).


RACE 1 PLUTONIUM LADY (4, fr. 1980m mob) Sam Ottley -“A great week with her since her last start, she went really great first up. Good draw and expecting a big run.” (Benny).


RACE 6 SIOUX PRINCESS (13, U4, ft, 2500m stand) Sam Ottley -“She’s had a freshen up and seems well, we all know her, good enough if the top few inches are working properly.” (Mark).