J Scott The Inside Word

NZ METRO TC, Thursday, December 6

Race 2: KOWHAI SUNDOWN (8, Mark), mob. 1980m: “Back to mobile should help. It’s a nice field but an each-way chance.”

Race 5: SMOKE N REACTOR (4, Sheree Tomlinson), mob. 2600m: “Better last start but 2600n and luck in the running is a concern.”

Outside drive

Race 6: IDLE MOOSE (10), mob. 2600m: “If they go hard it should suit but tricky draw and needs luck in a good field.”

FORBURY PARK TC, Friday, December 7

Race 5: QUEENOFDANCE (1, Samantha Ottley), 2700m std: “Good win fresh-up and seems good since, so won’t be far away.”

Race 6: MICHELLE (3, Sheree Tomlinson), 2200m std: “First time off the unruly but if she trots all the way is a good winning chance.”

Race 7: LETS HUSTLE (1, Laura McKay), mob. 2700m: “Drawn to make his own luck and a good chance.”

NZ METRO TC, Saturday, December 8

Race 1: SIOUX PRINCESS (11, UR 2, Laura McKay), mob. 1980m: “Has a lot to learn and can make mistakes so take on trust.”

Race 2: BARRETT (3, Mark), mob. 1980m: “Racing honest but needs luck.”

Outside drives

Race 4: SWEET MARYLOU (11), 2400m std: “Tough ask from the draw.”

Race 5: DREAMY DAMIEN (4), mob. 1980m: “Might be better on the all-weather and an outside place chance.”

AKAROA TC, Sunday, December 9

Race 8: ROCK N JOY (11, Laura McKay), mob. 2000m: “Went terrible last week but good prior on grass so an upset place chance.”


J Scott The Inside Word

FORBURY PARK TC, Thursday, November 29

Race 5: MICHELLE (14, Sheree Tomlinson), 2200m std: “Racing good and providing she trots and gets a good run is a good chance.”

OAMARU HRC, Saturday, December 1

Race 3: BARRETT (5, Mark), 2000m std: “Stand start and distance suits, and a top three chance.”

Race 4: MICHELLE (12, UR 2, Matthew Williamson), 2000m std: “Suitable race and a good chance.”

Race 6: ROCK N JOY (8, Clark Barron), mob. 2000m: “Drawn wide but good first-up run and can place.”

METHVEN TC, Sunday, December 2

Race 4: LETS HUSTLE (13, Laura McKay), mob. 2300m: “Big effort at Geraldine. Drawn bad but a chance again.”

Lets Hustle, a top second at Orari last week, and looking to go one better at Methven on Sunday.

Sheree all-the-way in Aust. Young Drivers Champ

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Overport Lodge-based junior reinswoman Sheree Tomlinson added to a growing record for Mark Jones employees in the Australasian Young Drivers Championship in Queensland in late November, 2018.

Sheree joined former employee Robbie Close as the 2015 Australasian Young Drivers Championship winner, with Michelle Neilson, also employed by Mark that term, third.

Mark himself won the Australasian title when a champion junior in 2000.

Sheree Tomlinson is awarded the 2018 Australasian Young Drivers Championship.

Sheree, who made a flying start, winning the first two heats, also picked up a third win, and recorded two seconds and a third in the nine heat series, held at Albion Park and Redcliffe.

She extended her front-running role to win the Garrard’s Australasian Young Drivers Championship to finish the series on 79 points, 21 ahead of Queensland’s Nathan Dawson, with NSW rep, Chris Geary, third, a further five points back.

Sheree won a Rio Mark 2 Sulky from sponsors Garrard’s for her efforts.

In her fourth season of race-driving, she has reined 76 NZ winners.

She won her first Group One, just over 12 months ago, in the 2017 Dominion Handicap with family horse, Amaretto Sun, trained by her grand-father, Ken Ford, at bolter’s odds, and experienced her first drive in a NZ Cup last month, reining Locharburn to finish 10th.

Third in last season’s NZ Junior Premiership, Sheree has 14 wins this term and trails John Morrison by one.

She returns to the NZ scene at Forbury on Thursday, with a chance of drawing level behind the Mark Jones-trained mare Michelle, in tonight’s junior drivers trot.

Mark Jones, incidentally, won his last two NZ Junior Drivers Premierships. In his last as a junior in the 1999-2000 season, he reined 100 winners in a season for the first time.

Mark, in his first term as an open driver, won the NZ Drivers Premiership with 116 wins _ at the time a record for a South Island-based driver.

At 22, he also became the youngest driver by a few months to win a NZ Drivers Premiership, eclipsing the legendary Maurice Holmes.

In 2003, Mark became a World Driving Champion,  but in latter years has changed focus to running a top training operation.

Sunoflindenny becomes six-figure earner in Aust.

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Former Overport Lodge trotters and pacers have had a successful week with Sunoflindenny having a career defining moment in Perth on Friday night.

The Butterworth Racing Syndicate-owned squaregaiter pushed his earnings past the $100,000 mark with a comfortable win in the Cowden Since 1972 SS Trot.

Sunoflindenny, in action at Addington four years ago for Mark Jones.

Sunoflindenny stepped smartly off the 20m line to take up the running for top driver Chris Lewis, who controlled the rest of the race from the front end.

The nine-year-old Sundon-Yankee Diedre gelding held Rocknroll Baby, who trailed, by 1.9 metres in a 2:04 rate for the 2503m.

Sunoflindenny, who trotted his last 800m in 59.1s, resumed his year in Australia after a 20-month break from racing.

After winning once in Victoria at Ararat and trotting consistently in five other starts for the Kerryn Manning stable, Sunoflindenny transferred to West Australia.

This was his sixth win since teaming up with the Ross Oliveri stable.

Sunoflindenny, who was spelled in August, resumed with a fresh-up win at Bunbury on November 17, then repeated at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

He’s now raced 70 times for 12 wins and 24 placings, for just under $110,000 in stakes.

Sunoflindenny initially won four and was 17 times placed in 49 NZ starts, earning $51,829.

Meanwhile, Say Your Pres (5m The Pres-Winfield Invasion) notched her first win in five Menangle starts on Tuesday.

Still racing for Dunedin breeders, Daryl and Anne Trainor, Say Your Pres is now racing for the Blake Fitzpatrick stable.

Driven by the Trainors’ son, Jack, Say Your Pres was given time to find her feet, settling four back on the markers, then improved to a one back one out spot at the 400m.

Kowhai Monarch, shown winning at Blenheim in June, 2016, for driver Samantha Ottley.

She unwound strongly to win by 3.9 metres in a 2:00.4 rate for the mobile 2300m in a $9000 trot.

Say Your Pres at her second start for former Burnham trainer, Mark Jones, scoring at Ashburton in February last year.

Kowhai Monarch has been another former Overport Lodge trotter in good touch across the Tasman.

He’s won his last three at Menangle, including the Group Two $33,600 Franco Trotters Cup on October 28 for driver Todd McCarthy.

Kowhai Monarch has now won 10 of 69 career starts for $A93,796. He earlier won five of 38 NZ starts for $39,209.

Now raced by Overport stable clients, John and Jill Hartnell from the Rando stable, the seven-year-old Monarchy-Surprising gelding last won at Menangle on November 10 in a 1:59.6 rate for the mobile 2300m.

In North America, quality pacing mare Delightfulmemphisn won again, this time at the Meadowlands on Saturday (NZ time) in 1:51.8.

From the four gate, she settled sixth and ran clear to win by three lengths for driver David Miller in a $14,000 mares pace.

This was the third win in 12 USA starts for Delightful Memphis.

The Bettor’s Delight-Memphis Melody mare, now trained by Richard “Nifty” Norman, earlier won 11 of 36 Australasian starts for $A318,996 for the Mark Jones stable.


J Scott The Inside Word

GERALDINE TC, Saturday, November 24

Race 3: MICHELLE (16, Mark), 1950m std: “Was good fresh up but haven’t been as happy with her since, so need luck.”

Race 4: BARRETT (15, Mark), 2500m std: “Drawn terrible and unknown on grass so take on trust.”

Race 11: LETS HUSTLE (7, Laura McKay), mob. 1850m: “Ran home ok first-up but drawing wide over the short trip makes it hard.”

Outside drives

Race 2: THAT ALEXANDER GUY (1), mob. 1850m: “Gets a draw to show some form.”

Race 5: TOUCHE (5), mob. 1850m: “One-paced horse who has an upset place chance.”

BANKS PENINSULA TC, Sunday, November 25

Race 2: KOWHAI SUNDOWN (3, Mark), 2170m std: “Fresh-up and if too wet will scratch. Trialled ok last week and each-way chance if we start.”

Race 5: QUEENOFDANCE (11, Samantha Ottley), mob. 2000m: “Drawn bad in a good field so looking for luck.”

Race 7: ROCK N JOY (7, Laura McKay), mob. 2000m: “Drawn wide and just ok at trails so needs to improve.”

Race 12: SMOKE N REACTOR (9, Samantha Ottley), mob. 2000m: “Very disappointing first-up and drawn bad here but if she runs up to her ability is an each-way chance.”

Outside drives

Race 9: DREAMY DAMIEN (14), mob. 2000m: “Has his chance and battled away at Ashburton. Looking for luck from the draw.”

Race 11: BANZIE (11), mob. 2000m: “Has won all his races on the grass so could be an upset show.”


Delightfulmemphisn wins for Dexter Dunn

J Scott Latest News


Former 10-time leading NZ driver Dexter Dunn racked up his 61st USA win since late August when guiding Delightfulmemphisn to win at the Meadowlands on November 9.

This was the first USA win for the former Overport Lodge mare, who raced in Australasia as Delightful Memphis.

Delightfulmemphisn was recording her second win in 10 US starts after having her preparation interrupted by a bout of sickness for the Richard “Nifty” Norman stable.

Dexter Dunn overcame the eight gate with her in a $11,500 fillies and mares pace, working to the front at the half, easing to trail, then having the last say.

Delightfulmemphisn outfinished another NZ-bred mare Followthewind (Mister Big-Whenua, by Mach Three-Whanau, by Sands A Flyin-Lento), by a head, in 1:52.4 (10ths).

Memphis Tennessee, a younger brother to Delightful Memphis, winning at Invercargill on October 6 for co-trainer Terry Chmiel. (Photo: Wild Range Photography).

The Bettor’s Delight-Memphis Melody mare had earlier won in a career best 1:51.4 in North America.

Dexter drives her again this Saturday (NZ time) in a $14,500 fillies and mares pace at Harrah’s Philadelphia.

She has drawn the three gate in a field that includes former big-winning Australian mare Nike Franco (McArdle-Nearea Franco), a former 1:48 miler, who has won two of 19 starts this term and paced 1:51.

Memphis Tennessee, a three-year-old brother to Delightful Memphis, sold out of the Mark Jones stable to race for clients of the Terry and Glenys Chmiel barn, was a luckless eighth in Tuesday’s $166,000 McMillan Equine Feeds NZ Sires Stakes 3YO Final.

He’s quickly made his mark this term, winning three of eight starts and is the sixth individual winner for his dam Memphis Melody (Badlands Hanover-OK Deb), who earlier left notable first foal winner Harley Earl (1:55.3, 10 wins from 31 starts).

Memphis Melody, who won once from seven starts over a mile in 2:00.1, is from the same maternal family as champion six-time Derby winner and later sire, Courage Under Fire.

ASHBURTON TC, Thursday, November 15

J Scott The Inside Word

ASHBURTON TC, Thursday, November 15

Barrett, has a tough draw to overcome at Ashburton on Thursday.

Race 3: BARRETT (16, Mark), 2400m std: “Drawn bad and looking for luck and improvement from first-up run.”

Race 5: MICHELLE (15, Mark), 2400m std: “Fresh for this and will take a lot of benefit from the run but is good enough to be a chance.”

Race 7: SMOKE N REACTOR (3, Sheree Tomlinson) & LETS HUSTLE (8, Laura McKay), mob. 1609m: “No trials so is a big ask for Smoke N Reactor but her work has been fine and an each- way chance.”

“Let Hustle is fresh-up and will need the run. Will be looking for luck from the draw.”

Outside drive

Race 8: DREAMY DAMIEN (15), mob. 2400m: “Good enough on ability to threaten them but will need luck.”

Rangiora HRC, Friday, November 9

J Scott The Inside Word

RANGIORA HRC, Friday, November 9

Race 6: BARRETT (1, Sheree Tomlinson), 2600m std: “Gets in a winnable race but has got to bring good manners and improvement from his first-up run.”

Overport Lodge drivers have first NZ Cup starts

J Scott Latest News


November 8, 2018


Driver Samantha Ottley will start chasing her New Zealand Cup dream with Forgotten Highway on Tuesday.

The group 1 winning reinswoman will have her first drive in the 3200m feature behind the Mitchell Kerr-trained pacer.

Ottley is thrilled to have booked her chance to win New Zealand’s greatest race.

“It is the biggest race of the year and you dream of having a drive in it and it is finally happening,” she said.

Ottley, Kerr and Forgotten Highway, form what could be considered a rookie attack on this year’s New Zealand C

Samantha Ottley, in the Mark Jones racing colours. She drives Forgotten Highway, for Mitchell Kerr, in Tuesday’s $800,000 Christchurch Casino NZ Cup at Addington. (Photo: Race Images, Christchurch).


Kerr is also having his crack at the event with a horse having just his third Gr.1 start.

What the trio may lack in cup experience is made up for with talent.

Kerr’s astute record as a trainer and Ottley’s rise to the top tier of the New Zealand driving ranks are evidence of that.

Forgotten Highway’s excellent lead up form signals he has solid each way claims in the race at the least.

Though attempting to register just his sixth career-win in the New Zealand Cup is a rare feat, Forgotten Highway looks to have struck the right year to do it.

“It is a very even cup this year, so everyone has got a show,” Ottley said.

“What he has done in his runs leading up to the cup has been very, very pleasing.”

“He is sort of only a baby really, when you look at what he has done.

“He has been chucked in with the big boys and he has stepped up.

“Every run this time he has got better and better, I have felt.

“He is not without a show and with an ounce of luck, you never know.”

Ottley will seek Dominion Handicap glory with Destiny Jones next week.

The trotter will firstly race in the New Zealand Trotting Free-For-All on Tuesday.

Destiny Jones began the spring in brilliant form, which now looks to have tailed off.

However, Ottley said punters should disregard the trotter’s plain last-start performance and her failure at the New Zealand Cup trials.

“She is going better than it looks on paper.

“I wouldn’t read too much in to her run at Kaikoura or even at the cup trials, she went around with a flat tyre from the end of the back straight.”

Additional Note: Fellow Overport Lodge reinswoman and successful junior driver, Sheree Tomlinson, is also having her first NZ Cup drive on Tuesday, reining former NZ Derby winner, Locharburn.

Sheree, who scored the biggest win of her career when upsetting with Amaretto Sun in last year’s Gr. 1 Dominion at Addington, will need to spring another surprise on Tuesday.

Locharburn, an improver’s fifth in his final lead-up race, is rated a $101 chance on the NZ futures market.

Sam’s drive, Forgotten Highway, is more fancied, being a $21 chance.

Victorian driver Kerryn Manning, who won the 2015 race with Arden Rooney, is the only woman driver to have won the famous race.

Sam, Sheree and Natalie Rasmussen (Thefixer), are the three woman drivers with chances this year.

  • NZ Harness News

Injury forces Chicago Bull out of NZ Cup

J Scott Latest News

NZ Harness News, October 30, 2018

The connections of Western Australian pacer Chicago Bull have been dealt a shocking blow after their pacer was ruled out of the New Zealand Cup on Tuesday with a broken back.

A standard veterinary procedure turned into a nightmare when the horse had an anaphylactic reaction to an intravenous injection on Saturday morning.

Chicago Bull was being given fluids as a precautionary measure after emphatically winning his first start in New Zealand start for the Hall stable on Friday night.

Visiting Perth pacer Chicago Bull after winning at Auckland for Gary Hall jun. (Trish Dunell photo).

The horse flipped over and landed on his back in a shocking scene.

Caretaker trainer and driver, Gary Hall jun, said the horse initially came through the incident in reasonable order.

“I actually gave him really light jog work thinking it was just muscle stiffness because he did not appear to land too badly.”

The Hall camp have been unable to confirm the details of the incident until Tuesday.

The horse had to be trucked from his temporary base in Auckland to a specialised x-ray machine in Cambridge after a lengthy diagnostic process.

It was eventually revealed Chicago Bull had six broken bones in his back.

Despite that horror diagnosis, the Southland-bred is in good spirits.

“To initially walk off the spot he is a bit reluctant, but once he gets moving he is fine.”

The horse will be left in New Zealand, to initially recuperate in a loose box, until he is fit enough to fly back to Western Australia.

In a cruel twist, the horse did not necessarily need to undergo the rehydration procedure.

However it is common practice for the Hall stable, who among the best travellers of horses in Australasia, when they take a horse away from home.

“He didn’t really need it, but it is something we do, it is a routine thing.

“We have travelled a fair bit now and it is just something we do and we thought we were doing the right thing by him.”

Hall Jnr was left devastated by the incident and his first thoughts were with the horse’s welfare.

Missing out on a chance to win the New Zealand Cup only made the situation worse.

“I am devastated, really.”

“The closer we got to the cup the bigger chance we thought we had of winning it based on what he had done and what his rivals had done over the weekend.”

News of Chicago Bull’s injury sent shockwaves through the Australasian harness racing industry.

It also had a marked effect on the New Zealand Cup market.

Ultimate Machete remains the favourite for the race and moved in to a $3.60 price with the New Zealand TAB after Chicago Bull’s withdrawal from the race.

Second favourite, Tiger Tara, moved in to a $3.90 quote.

  • NZ Harness News