We’re back! Mark highlights the runners at Addington

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SIOUX PRINCESS

ADDINGTON, THURSDAY, MAY 28

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.

ADDINGTON, FRIDAY, MAY 29

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.

ADDINGTON, FRIDAY, MARCH 20

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

WAIMATE, SUNDAY, MARCH 22

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.

ADDINGTON, FRIDAY, MARCH 13

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.”

WYNDHAM, SATURDAY, MARCH 14

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.”

BANKS PENINISULA, SUNDAY, MARCH 15

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).

ADDINGTON, FRIDAY, JANUARY 31

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).

ORARI, SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 1

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).

Irony in massive Victoria Oaks result

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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.

Benny hopeful of success today

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Four runners again at Nelson, all on the back-up from Friday, and Benny believes possible success rests with two very good chances.

NELSON, SUNDAY, JANUARY 12

RACE 1 MELODY’S MISCHIEF (4, fr. 1609m mob) Blair Orange -“She went a good race Friday, we were pleased with her. Just outsprinted that final bit. Hoping she’ll back up good today and should be hard to beat.” (Benny)

RACE 6 ROCKAHULA JOE (7, fr. 1609m mob) Sam Ottley -“Had his chance in front Friday, well driven and every show. Thought he should have run third, not sixth. We’ll drive colder today and see how he goes.” (Benny)

RACE 7 MICHELLE (10, U1, fr. 2400m stand) Wayne Higgs -“Disappointing the first day and she’s one probably heading for a change of scenery soon.” (Benny)

RACE 9 SHADOW PHANTASY (6, fr. 1609m stand) Sam Ottley -“Really good the first day. Will have to step and go (from a mile stand start), but if he does a top-three must.” (Benny)

Lavros Lodge next step in Elite plan

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Kypros Kotzikas, who raced top trotter Master Lavros with Mark

We are thrilled to announce we have secured a lease agreement with Kypros Kotzikas to move a number of the racehorses to his Yaldhurst property, Lavros Lodge, in the near future.

This is the next and exciting phase in our plan and we are very grateful to Kypros for allowing us to utilise his incredible property and facilities.

This allows Benny and Mark to work the racehorses together. And we’re very excited about that.

We plan to base the racing stock and those building to trial and race day at Lavros Lodge, then utilise our own properties for the young stock, preparatory work, and so on.

“Mark and I working the race team together is fantastic – something we wanted to do, obviously. It is exciting,” said Benny.

“We will start off small and build the team up at Yaldhurst as we go.”

And Mark, who of course trained Master Lavros to numerous Group One wins for Kotzikas, is elated.

“Training together on one property was always a target and has perhaps even come along sooner than we anticipated.  I know we are both looking forward to working alongside each other.

“From an owners perspective we believe this is how they view our partnership, as working together. That has to be and will be beneficial to all our horses and clients.

“And Kypros does have an amazing property to help us achieve this. We’re really lucky,” said Mark.

Iz it all down to luck?

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After a bold front-running win at Omakau, can Itz Alldown To Luck back up and win the Nugget Final at Ascot Park today?

Benny is in Nelson with a team of four, the two day meeting kicking off Friday.

ASCOT PARK, THURSDAY, JANUARY 9

RACE 6 ITZ ALLDOWN TO LUCK (12, fr. 2200m mob) Brad Williamson -“Good to see him show his best at Omakau. We thought of spelling him immediately, he definitely will after this. A throw at the stumps but he’s worthy of a crack.” (Mark).

ITZ ALLDOWN TO LUCK (Ricky May) winning at Omakau

NELSON, FRIDAY, JANUARY 10

RACE 1 MELODY’S MISCHIEF (6, fr. 2400m mob) Blair Orange -“Great run on debut and she looks a big chance. And a big driving change, don’t worry about that!” (Benny).

RACE 7 MICHELLE (10, U1, fr. 2400m stand) Wayne Higgs -“She has worked along super since the Coast. Some improvement to be found in the form but hopeful she could.” (Benny).

RACE 9 SHADOW PHANTASY (8, fr. 2400m stand) Sam Ottley -“Great run last time up in grade he handled it really well. A top three eachway bet.” (Benny).

RACE 10 ROCKAHULA JOE (8, fr. 2400m mob) Sam Ottley -“Racing honestly. Tricky draw for him and needing a bit of luck but he can place.” (Benny).

Stylish Memphis to VIC, NSW Oaks – under very good care!

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Stylish Memphis unwinds late for second to Amazing Dream in the Group One Peter Breckon Memorial Caduceus Club Stakes at Auckland on December 14. (Race Images, Auckland, photo).

Star filly Stylish Memphis will contest the Victorian and New South Wales Oaks and leave in a few days – under the care of champion trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen.

Given Purdon and Rasmussen have opted to keep the top filly in the land Amazing Dream at home, it was a decision made easier by all connections, including owner Wayne Higgs.

Co-trainer Mark Jones, who developed her for Higgs from yearling stage, is delighted to have the Bettor’s Delight filly under All Stars care.

“Benny and I have plenty on at home. And this makes absolute sense. Mark and his staff are going to be based there (Australia) for the next five or six weeks with their team.

“You don’t have to give it a second thought. Once Mark and Nat said they were keen to take her it was an easy decision to go.”

Either Purdon or Rasmussen will drive Stylish Memphis during her Australian campaign. She takes in the $150,000 Lazarus Victoria Oaks (Jan 25) and $200,000 New South Wales Oaks (Feb 29).

Stylish Memphis, who placed second in both the Group One’s at Alexandra Park in December behind Amazing Dream, will fly out with the All Stars runners on Sunday direct to Melbourne.

She was under the care of Auckland Reactor’s former strapper, now trainer, Jeremy Young in Auckland, and Jones said his fine work, as always, was not to be understated.

Cromwell caps the southern circuit

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Mark will send three around at Cromwell today and finish the circuit with a winner, hopefully.

CROMWELL, MONDAY, JANUARY 6

RACE 2 MAHIA (8, fr. 1800m mob) Mark Jones -“Not his best down here. Hoping he may show some more. But on form a place chance.” (Mark)

RACE 4 BRING BACK LEAH (2, fr. 1800m mob) Sam Ottley -“She has gone a couple of handy races down here. Another good draw helps her here. I expect a sound run on the grass track, should suit her.” (Mark).

RACE 12 NIRVANA BEACH (7, fr. 1800m mob) Sam Ottley -“He’d want to show us some more today. Disappointing, we’d like to know why.” (Mark).