Quiet week for Overport

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RACE 6 JAMIES BAD BOY (3, fr. 2200m mob) Sam Ottley -“He should have won at Timaru but galloped late, an expensive mistake. Raced good there so in this field from the draw he should be completive again.”


RACE 2 KOWHAI SUNDOWN (14, UR1. 2600m stand) Mark Jones -“He began as well as he has at Methven but unfortunately had a gallop soon after. Capable on his day but we have to get him trotting all the way.


RACE 8 ORLANDO MAGIC (2, fr. 2700m stand) Sam Ottley -“Just nabbed on the line last week and into a tougher race for the final. The handicapped horses are probably a bit too strong at the stage she’s at, but she can use the handicap head-start if she steps well again.”

Texas Terror still winning

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Former Overport Lodge-developed pacer Texas Terror is still a money-maker as an 11-year-old in North America.

The Western Terror-Alicia Maree gelding led throughout at Mohegan Sun Pocono last weekend in a $UIS11,000 pace, winning by three lengths in 1:50.3 (fifths).

Driven by Antony Napolitano for trainer Jose Godinez, Texas Terror was racking up is fifth win of the year for just over $US90,000 in stakes.

Texas Terror, shown winning a $50,000 Levy Memorial Heat at Yonkers 1:51 in 2016.(Photo courtesy of Mike Lizzi).

He’s also picked up six seconds and three thirds.

Texas Terror, who has a lifetime best mile of 1:50.2 (10ths) has now had 34 career wins from 190 career starts, for earnings for the equivalent of just over $485,000 in stakes.

He only raced one for trainer Mark Jones, being sold after finishing fourth to subsequent NZ Sapling Stakes winner Monaghan in a 1:59 2YO mile at Winton way back in 2010.

Three years ago he was the fastest elimination winner of a $US50,000 George Morton Levy Memorial Series Heat at Yonkers, New York, in 1:51 on the half-mile track that night.

After leaving NZ for Australia, he won 16 in Australia, including winning his his last start there at Menangle on October 31, 2015, in 1:51.8 (mile) in the hands of Luke McCarthy.

Texas Terror is from the same maternal family as former smart Overport Lodge filly/mare Delightful Memphis (1:51.4, also a notable earner in the US this year).

Both have the 1999 NZ Broodmare Excellence Award winner Deborah Dundee as their great grand-dam.

This is the same line that produced former brilliant 2 & 3YO, and now successful sire Courage Under Fire (1:54.1), who despite his death last year, still has chilled semen available from Stallions Australasia at Bromac Lodge this spring.

Another ex-Canterbury pacer to slip under the radar in the USA last weeekend was the former David Gaffaney-trained Micky Gee, a regular drive for Overport Lodge reinswoman Sam Ottley in his former his Addington racing.

Micky Gee ran top USA free-for-aller and $US4 million winner McWicked to a nose in the $US250,000 Dan Rooney Memorial at Yonkers Raceway, New York, last Sunday (NZ time).

The 6YO Bettor’s Delight-Corbell gelding has won $US254,810 from eight wins in 25 starts for the year, racing mostly on the half-mile at Yonkers.

These days a stablemate of former dual Australasian Grand Circuit champ Christen Me in the Lance Hudson stable, Micky Gee has taken a fast 1:50.2 (10ths) on the half-mile circuit there.

Cruz 3rd to Bling in Vict. Cup

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The “perfect horse” Bling It On put in a clinical, explosive performance to win a record-smashing Pryde’s EasiFeed Victoria Cup, capping a stunning comeback story.

The 2017 A. G. Hunter Cup winner has barely been seen since that career-best performance owing to a bad fall and subsequent injury, but though fresh off a 10-month “retirement” and only second up he showed he had lost none of his brilliance in rounding up the Group 1 field.

“He’s such a special horse,” said reinsman Luke McCarthy. “Everyone knows his story by now and for him to come back second up after having that long off and win a Victoria Cup is just a credit to the horse.

Bling It On and Luke McCarthy, after winning the $250,000 Victoria Cup on Saturday night. (Photo courtesy of Stuart MCormick).

“He’s so sound and wants to do it, he’s a beautiful horse, open bridle, no head check, no boots, no tongue tie – he’s just a professional. The trip worked out beautifully tonight and lucky enough he was good enough to finish it off.”

The speed map’s proved true as Cash N Flow crossed Colt Thirty One to lead and placed Bling It On three back on the pegs, while San Carlo worked to the breeze ahead of Buster Brady and Tam Major.

The brisk 42.7-second lead time preceded little respite through the 29 and 28.5-second first and second quarters, and when Buster Brady faded from the running line mid-race the door opened for Bling It On to explode into contention.

Off the 27.6-second third quarter Bling It On ate into the leader’s gap to the final turn, easing three-wide outside San Carlo and by the 100-metre mark he was a length clear and had the race in hand.

Colt Thirty One and Cruz Bromac (formerly developed and sold unraced by Overport trainer Mark Jones) filled out the placings and San Carlo got over Cash N Flow in his final strides to fill out the first four, but it was Bling It On’s title for McCarthy and trainer Craig Cross. A 27.4-second final quarter sealed a 1:51.5 mile rate record, breaking Lennytheshark’s 2018 mark.

“He’s just an utter professional, just a brilliant racehorse, we got a beautiful run tonight and it just worked out perfect,” McCarthy said.

“It’s hard to explain, he’s just such a perfect horse, he’s that smart. He’s getting collected, serving mares as we speak – he got collected yesterday and then jumped on the float and come down for Vic Cup.

“He feels as good as ever. Being an older stallion he should only race into better form through the preparation.”

Bling It On will likely carry plenty of favour as he turns his attention to a New Zealand campaign that will likely include the New Zealand Trotting Cup and Inter Dominion to follow.

Courtesy of HRV Trots Media _ Michael Howard

Plutonium Lady lively

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Burnham trainer Mark Jones has always been a fan of Southern Harness racing. He loves to head south to set up his three-year-olds for both the Southern Supremacy Stakes and the Southland Oaks later in the season.

In consecutive races at Gore (Saturday, October 12, 2019) he produced a couple of those age group pacers that look capable of featuring in both those finals at Ascot Park in April.

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

Plutonium Lady easily won the $15,000 Ladyship Final beating hot favourite Need You Now by six lengths after leading and clearing out at the top of the straight.

The winning time of 2-43.2 was impressive, in the cold easterly conditions.

“She’s still got a lot to learn but a typical Bettor’s on race day when she becomes a racehorse,” Jones said.

Plutonium Lady had won two races ago at Winton and is now the early season leader on the Southland Oaks leader board.

Plutonium Lady, and driver Sam Ottley, are joined by winning co-owners, Grant and Katherine Hatton, after her impressive Gore win. (Bruce Stewart photo).

“She might have one more go at the Sires Stakes Heat at Addington.”

“We won’t take her to Auckland. We’ll just target the filly’s races down here and she may go to the New South Wales Oaks in February. Late in the season will be the Nevele R and New Zealand Oaks and the Southland Oaks. She’ll be a better filly later on so if we look after her now it’ll work out good.”

Plutonium Lady is owned by Sir Loins Limited and Starmark Limited which consists of Grant Hatton, Michael Jones and Jim Haines.

“It looks as though we picked the right one out at the sales.”

In the next race Burnham Boy was posted three wide from the start with driver Sam Ottley having to let him drift back to the rear. With just over a lap to run she took the Bettor’s Delight gelding three wide to improve round the field and sat parked from the 800m.

Burnham Boy (Sam Ottley) wins first-up at Gore debut for the Mark Jones stable. (Bruce Stewart photo).

Just before turning in,Ottley pulled the ear plugs and soon took the lead from pacemaker Fireforefiddle,and typical of the Bettor’s Delight breed, Burnham Boy fought bravely to beat Targaryen by a length and a quarter.

In the last race of the day Ottley reined Ideal Draw to win. It was the driver’s 400th winner.

Courtesy of Bruce Stewart, Southland Harness Racing, (www.southernharness.co.nz)

Menangle stakes rise

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For the majority of the industry, it’s the ‘bread and butter’ races that really matter.

So owners and trainers will be thrilled to hear Club Menangle has announced quite substantial increases to those regular races by adding to the levels of metropolitan prizemoney.

The changes, which commence from 1 November 2019, include:

• Minimum prizemoney on a metropolitan program rising from $11,000 to $14,000;

• Tier-3 prizemoney going up from $16,000 to $18,000;

• Tier-2 prizemoney races will increase from $22,000 to $24,000;

• The premier club will also introduce a second $20,000 division of the M0 each month.

But wait, there’s more!

There will also be some changes to the “Where Horses Fly” Country Series.

The finals of that popular series will now be run on alternate weeks and an additional race will be added to each of these programs.

This ensures that country participants still get the opportunity to race at Tabcorp Park Menangle while not reducing the racing opportunities for the pool of metropolitan horses

Through the cooperation of Club Menangle and Harness Racing NSW, these changes will add $750,000 to the metropolitan prizemoney distribution over the course of a full year.

Club Menangle has already worked with HRNSW to increase midweek prizemoney from $7,500 per race to $9,000.

At the other end of the racing scale, the Club has again combined forces with HRNSW to run the Ainsworth Miracle Mile for $1 million.

According to Club Menangle CEO Bruce Christison: “While it is vital that we offer incentives to race at the elite level, it is just as important that we improve stakes for the horses that are racing week-in and wee-out at the metropolitan level.

Bruce Christison

“The Club continues to work closely with both the participants and HRNSW as evidenced by the agreed need to increase opportunities for mares, which has been facilitated by the recent introduction of additional open-class mares’ racing.

“Whilst it is always a priority to maximize prizemoney, our Club also has a responsibility to its members to ensure that these levels are affordable and sustainable.

“This year we saw prizemoney return to the levels of two years ago and the increases announced today will take prizemoney to record highs.

“Since the sale of Harold Park we have experienced changes in financial markets never seen before, which have resulted in record low interest-rate levels.

“I am pleased to say that decisions made by the board and management over the past two years have seen strong investment performances over that time, despite the challenging environment.”

Christison explained that the Club would continue to monitor the performance of its investment fund.

“With the on-going pressure on wagering-related revenue the Club will continue to look at ways of diversifying revenue streams with the latest example the introduction of the seven-day a week club, due to open in January,” he said.

“The prizemoney increases announced today, combined with the introduction by HRNSW of the $1m TAB Pace in May next year, reinforces the position of NSW as the premier harness racing state.”

  • Courtesy of Mandy Madern,
  • Social Media &
  • Trot Guide Co Ordinator

Busy weekend for Overport team

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NZ METRO TC, Thursday, October 10
Race 6: RANGER BOMB (4, Samantha Ottley), mob. 1980m: A nice type resuming. Quite happy with him. Does meet a tough bunch first up and tend to think more a place chance without a hard run under the belt.


Race 9: DENY EVERYTHING (7, Samantha Ottley), mob. 2600m: Another resuming. A horse with talent, he’s still learning and bit raw yet but one to keep an eye on as he progresses this campaign.

GORE HRC, Saturday, October 1

Race 1: ORLANDO MAGIC (5, Samantha Ottley), 2700m std: Very pleased with her at Timaru. Not so much in the overall result but she handled it all well and trotted all the way without any real luck. Should measure right up to these.

Race 6: PLUTONIUM LADY (4, Samantha Ottley), mob. 2200m: A very good run last week at Addington. She drew poorly and the race never really went her way, her last 400m was impressive. Should match the class of all here.

Race 7: BURNHAM BOY (4, Samantha Ottley), mob. 2200m: Nice maiden working up well. He gets a good draw and though another improver first time out this time in he’s a chance with the right run.”

METHVEN TC, Sunday, October 13
Race 2: KOWHAI SUNDOWN (18, UR 4, Blair Orange), 2400m std: I was hopeful of something better last time and he did perform. Nice to see him trot. Capable of winning his maiden soon. The grass may help him too.

Race 7: JAMIES BAD BOY (2, E4), 2400m std: Balloted after that gallop at Timaru which was disappointing for his owners, he looked home and hosed. May not get a run here off fourth ballot.

Race 10: SIOUX PRINCESS (12, Samantha Ottley), 2400m std: A shame to see her gallop at Ascot Park, that race looked a chance for her. So she’s back to the grass track and I wouldn’t count her out if she trots – but that’s the query.”


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Brendon Hill and Mark Jones – Elite Racing

Combining forces was never really on the radar until two of our leading horsemen came together several weeks ago and realised they were both singing from the same sheet.

The discussion involved their own businesses, the state of the industry, but importantly their passion and desire to not only continue but become better.

A few meetings followed, some hard-edged question and answer sessions, mainly financially based, and out the other end came a partnership, Brendon Hill and Mark Jones deciding the time was right to diversify and move forward.

“Exciting” is how ‘Benny’ Hill explains the newly formed alliance with Jones in a training partnership, Elite Racing, set to begin on November 1 this year.

The New Zealand Cup-winning trainer says the time is right for a new challenge and in joining forces with the former world-champion driver he sees no boundaries.

“Really, really looking forward to it, to be honest,” said Benny.

“I think it comes down to us probably enjoying it more – if I was to be honest I could say we’ve both been treading water to a certain degree and this gives us both a really good lift, it’s something very positive and I’m keen to work really hard and give it a good crack.

“If anything, it just takes a wee bit of pressure off both of us to run this as a business together.”

Hill, who trained Monkey King and Carabella to win numerous Group One titles among other very good horses, has worked long and hard to establish a new property in Swannanoa alongside his wife Justine.

“Mark and I have obviously talked about a big property we could perhaps train from together one day. At this stage we will both remain at our own properties, maintain some individual financial security, but bring together our resources and expertise.

“We are both at a good stage of our lives and careers to do this, we’re established, we have the winners on the board, and of course our own properties. And I feel the partnership compliments both parties in a really nice way.

“Justine is fully on board, even more excited than me – she can’t wait to get into it. She has worked so hard for us and this actually gives her a chance to take a wee step backward – she’s a busy person – but still an integral part of this.”

“Mark and I have obviously talked about a big property we could perhaps train from together one day. At this stage we will both remain at our own properties, maintain some individual financial security, but bring together our resources and expertise” – Brendon Hill

Hill did say he has asked Jones to nugget the boots and make a return to race driving in some capacity at least.

“Ricky (May) and Sam Ottley will do a lot of the driving, but I’d like to see Mark drive, too.

“He’s a great driver and a wasted talent – he has driven for me before.  I will encourage him to get in the cart whenever he can. But I know how hard he works in the running of his business and can understand why he’s not been driving so much – hopefully we can free him up to drive more.

“As a training team we will continue to look after our existing clients and build the numbers up with new clientele. It is a numbers game and we have the ability to train good numbers,” said Hill.

“I know Mark agrees. When you look at All Stars (Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen) as the obvious example you can say that is a hard act to follow, but one to aspire to. We think we sit very strongly on that second tier and will be a force to be reckoned with in the years to come.”

Mark Jones owns his Burnham property Overport Lodge which caters for healthy numbers, the 50-acre training establishment formerly the home to owner-trainer Clarrie Sprott then thoroughbred trainer Neil Ridley.

With two Dominion Handicap wins and a Rowe Cup with Master Lavros, and multiple successes to the likes of Saveapatrol, Delightful Memphis, Shezoneoftheboyz, and Rocker Band, Jones has also tasted the highs on Group One day, and echoes Benny’s sentiments on getting back to that level more often.

“This is a new challenge, something we all need from time to time and I am very keen to get rolling, improve myself and my horses,” said Mark.

“Like Benny, I’m really looking forward to this with some excitement. Two good training brains coming together, bouncing ideas off each other, pre-planning our targets – it’s going to work really well.

“We can travel our horses, some may be in Auckland others in Invercargill. One day we could well be on the same property, for now it’s perfect on different facilities with different training ideas we can have the horses in the place that suits them best.

“I see no negatives. Horses do suit one trainer and not another. We’re open to making those changes when needed.”

Communication is absolute key and both Jones and Hill are keen to further increase already strong ownership information with an approach that gives owners ‘a good run for their money’.

“The onus must be on trainers to improve the information owners receive,” said Mark.

“We are focussed on that, always have been.

“And another thing is bringing more professionalism to our race day. Hopefully we will stand out on race day, not only our horses but our staff.  We want to have a professional approach to this from start to finish and Benny shares the same beliefs.”

“Like Benny, I’m really looking forward to this with some excitement. Two good training brains coming together, bouncing ideas off each other  pre-planning our targets – it’s going to work really well” –  Mark Jones

Aside of the current strength in both barns, Jones said the main focus for Elite Racing will be yearling sales time early next year. As both he and Benny know so well, the fresh stock must flow into the stable at sale time to become racehorses of the future.

“And if we can achieve that professional structure that allows me more time then I would get back to driving more.

“Benny has asked me, and I’d like to if it becomes possible.”

Fast 10 Metro card in Dec.

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Fast 10 Horse Racing is arriving this December.

Quick Horse Racing Ltd is excited to be bringing you a world first, Fast10 Horse Racing – a live action packed daytime event at Addington Raceway on 20th December 2019, starting from 11.30am.

Fast10 Horse Racing is combining the best of racing for our true racing enthusiasts along with an exciting, action packed event including a colourful array of entertainment.

This event will include ten races each featuring 10 horses in just over 2 ½ hours!

Fast10 is the next level of racing – it’s faster and quicker than ever before, racing in half the time but doubling the fun.

Owners, Tony Russell and Glenn Hames have been working on this concept for over two years and are thrilled to be bringing the first event to Christchurch.

They are both passionate about the racing industry and wanted to “reignite passion and interest in the industry while creating a fun and exciting event to appeal to new customers”.

The concept of Fast10 is similar to other sports such as T20 Cricket by creating a new product based on a traditional sport.

“We have seen how T20 cricket has changed Cricket and we believe that Fast10 can provide that same effect to racing in New Zealand”.

Be sure to check out the HRNZ Facebook page for updates.

Hospitality options will be available soon, we will update the public as soon as they are on sale.

For further information on Fast 10 Horse Racing, please contact:

Glenn Hames – ghames.qhr@gmail.com, or 0272032746

Tony Russell – trussell.qhr@gmail.com,or 0274326522

Pure racing, Pure excitement, Pure fun

Courtesy of Jess Smith, HRNZ

Obituary – Maurice Bailey

J Scott Latest News

Overport Lodge trainer Mark Jones was very saddened by the passing of former Balcairn trainer Maurice Bailey at Burwood Hospital, Christchurch, on September 29.

Maurice, who died aged 87, was a great supporter of Mark in his early junior driving day.

The North Canterbury trainer enjoyed a top strike rate with a small team until retiring from training in 2000.

He was instrumental in lifting Mark’s profile in his first year as a junior driver, putting him on a big mover in the trot ranks in Andrew Eyre.

Just two months after Mark scored his first career win with Lord Phantom, trained by his father Peter, at Blenheim in November 1996, Mark was winning with Andrew Eyre at Nelson in January 1997.

Andrew Eyre, who had won his Motukarara maiden with Peter Jones driving him in January 1996, came of age in 1997.

After winning for Mark at Nelson, he’d won seven on end by March 29, with Mark steering him home in six of them, and Karen O’Connor saluting in another junior event.

Mark went on to win a Banks Peninsula Trotting Cup in October 1998 with Andrew Eyre for Maurice, and another two Addington wins.

Peter Jones trained the horse later in 1999, with Mark driving him to win the South Bay Trotters Cup at Kaikoura and run a Group One third to Lyell Creek and Sundowner Bay in the 1999 Dominion.

Mark also drove Andrew Eyre in the last of the horse’s 14 wins (from 55 starts) at Addington in December 1999.

“I will never forget how good Maurice was to me and without fail, there was a $200 cash sling after every win,” Mark said.

“I’ve always said I would never be where I am today without Maurice.”

Mark says dirivng Andrew Eyre put him on the map.

Also in May 1997, Maurice gave him drives on Sandtross, winning first-up in May.

Mark scored six pacing wins between May and August, 1997, with the then in-form Macatross gelding.

By 2003, Mark had become a World Driving Champion.

“I’ve also been friends with Maurice’s two sons, Anthony and Phil, ever since driving for him,” Mark said.

“We’ve had great nights since, as they owned night clubs. When I was  17 and winning races for Maurice, it made it easy for me to get in.”

“He was an amazing trainer. He never used a stop-watch. His horses were always great-mannered and had a top strike rate.”

Maurice’s grandson, Cam, is continuing his grandfather’s sporting success.

Cam, a promising sportsman in three individual sports, became a NZ under 18 representative at lawn bowls.

He picked up the sport after going with with his grandfather to the Canterbury Bowling Club, before he was a teenager.

Cam went on to play bowls for NZ under 18 team, winning a NZ secondary schools singles title.

He has also been a stand-out at rugby union at secondary school level, and was also named in the Canterbury wider Training Group for the 2019 Mitre Cup rugby union season.  

Cam has also reached national level as a Australian Rules player, becoming the youngest to represent the NZ Hawks Senior Australian Rules side.


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RACE 8 PLUTONIUM LADY (11, fr. 1980m mob) Sam Ottley -“Smart win down south last start and good since. A tricky old draw following out a maiden which is just not going to help at all. Good enough to measure up to all of them but plenty of luck needed from where we start from.


RACE 6 SIOUX PRINCESS (2, fr. 2700m stand) Sam Ottley. -“She is nearing form and if Sam can get her to trot out and get going from the front row she has an eachway chance in there.”


RACE 8 WILLISON (6, fr. 2200m mob) Sam Ottley -“Very pleased with him at Addington last start. He really did rip into it late. Looks as good as any here if he gets the right run and should go close.”


RACE 2 ORLANDO MAGIC (10, fr. 2600m stand) Sam Ottley -“A nice type of trotter resuming. A good solid trial win recently and a horse that should break through and win the maiden quite soon. Manners a small query.”

RACE 5 SHE’S A DAGG (8, fr. 2000m mob) Sam Ottley -“No joy in tough races at Addington so far. A bit better than her form but she does need to lift the game a little more. Wide gate no real help over 2000m. Place.”

RACE 10 JAMIES BAD BOY (7, fr. 2600m mob) Sam Ottley -“Racing quite well this one. No star but he gives it a crack. The 2600m suits him and despite a wider draw could be in the finish.”