Big-winning reinswoman Samantha Ottley has celebrated a return this month to daily employment at Burnham for Mark Jones, with a winning double behind Queenofdance.
Sam repeated her Rangiora win with Queenofdance on July 7, with another victory at Ashburton on Sunday.
Between Rangiora and Ashburton, the in-form Queenofdance also ran third from a wide gate at Addington last Friday behind Warloch and Jonty James.
She had to overcome a second row draw in the Farmlands Ashburton Social Club Mobile Pace on Sunday, improving with cover mid-race, launching four wide from the 400m.
Queenofdance looked destined to run second to front-running Rocknroll King, who appeared to have her measure with 150m to run, but the latter blew his winning chance with a late gallop.
Rocknroll King’s indiscretion paved the way for a second Mark Jones-trained quinella in seven days.
Queenofdance kept up a bold effort to win in 2:59.7 for the mobile 2400m, with stablemate Immortal Change, who trailed for Blair Orange, chasing her home two lengths back second.
“She (Queenofdance) will keep going as she’s had a good week but she’s in a tough grade so see we’ll how she finds her feet up there,” Mark said.
Sam has continued to drive for Mark Jones, even though she had been working at Woodend Beach with Regan Todd, and had smaller stints at other stables this year.
“She’s a good asset to the team,” said trainer, Mark Jones, of Sam, who has 55 wins on the board this term, and 383 career wins.
Meanwhile, successful junior driver Sheree Tomlinson has chosen to move on from Overport Lodge.
“She was great while working here and I was happy to support her,” Mark said.
“It’s a shame I didn’t have the the horse-power to help her towards a junior premiership but she won races in New Zealand and Australia for me.”
“With a bigger race team coming through it could have been a good season for her next year but she will have plenty of options with her ability,” he said.
Sheree, who won the Australasian Young Drivers Championship in Queensland last November, has won 44 NZ races this term, but trails John Morrison by 17 wins on this season’s NZ Junior Drivers Premiership.
Don Wright, who 18 years ago penned “Win Without Boasting”, the hard book story of legendary horseman Derek Jones (grand-father of Mark Jones), has died. He was 75.
Mr Wright, a racing/sports journalist for 48 years, retired after suffering health issues four years ago. He had been in care at Riverton and died on Sunday.
He served for 33 years at the Southland Times newspaper until the year 2000, including the last six as Chief of Sport and Racing.
Mr Wright was understudy to the late Norman Pierce for many years, writing under the non de plume of “Gold Nib”, before taking the Times senior racing role in the 1980s.
During this period, he was instrumental in forming the careers of other racing journalists, Jeff Scott, Tony Clifford, Simon Osborn and Jamie Searle, who all assisted him in the Racing Department of the Southland Times.
He continued as a contributor to the Southland Times for his final 15 years of his work life, relocating to Christchurch for 10 years, then latterly returning south to Queenstown and Invercargill.
During his time in Christchurch, he became secretary-treasurer of the Caduceus Club Of Canterbury, and worked for the Harnesslink website.
Mr Wright won five national harness racing writing awards, and was inducted into the New Zealand Trotting Hall of Fame media honours list.
He bred and owned many horses in both racing codes, and was formerly a secretary of the Southland Standardbred Breeders Association for 11 years.
Mr Wright also co-authored “Jumping to Glory _ The History of the Great Western Steeplechase” (run annually at Riverton), and a hunting book, “Deer Were Their Lives”.
“Harmony Delight is an improving filly and an each-way hope.”
“Molly Dooker needs luck from the draw.”
Race 3: MY DESIGN (8, Samantha Ottley), 2400m std: “Has had a lot of issues but an each-way hope.”
Race 4: WILLISON (4, Mark), mob. 1609m: “Was terrible first-up but we should see an improved horse this week.”
Race 5: NAIYA FRANCO (1, Blair Orange), mob. 1609m: “Gets the draw to be an upset place chance.”
Race 8: IMMORTAL CHANGE (8, Blair Orange), LETS HUSTLE (SCR) & QUEENOFDANCE (13, Samantha Ottley), mob. 2400m: “Immortal Change had no luck on Friday but can bounce back with a better trip. Queenofdance was good again on Friday and an each-way show.”
Queenofdance, reined by Overport Lodge reinswoman Sam Ottley, and Lets Hustle, driven by Stephen McNally, provided a rare quinella for the Mark Jones stable at Rangiora on Sunday, July 7.
Winner Queenofdance is the second winner from her unraced dam Mary Niven to race and win for the Overport Lodge team.
Queenofdance follows Rocknroll Nevin, who won twice for the Jones-Ottley combo in her three-year-old racing.
Rocknroll Nevin added a four-year-old win when for Westport co-owner Robert Higgins when he prepared her to dead-heat with Clarendon Falcon at the Westport meeting in March last year.
Queenofdance, a three-year-old daughter of fast USA racehorse, A Rocknroll Dance (p2, 1:49.2, 1:47.4), notched her second win in 17 starts for her West Coast owners on Sunday.
Left parked early, she wrested the lead from favourite Officialdon at the 1800m, then trailed from the 1400m.
She finished too well along the spring late, holding stablemate Lets Hustle, who from last in a packed field at the 600m, closed well after improving sharply four wide turning for home.
Queenofdance, rewarded for consistency in her latest racing, paced the mobile 2600m in 3:15.6 (2:01 mile rate), the leaders pacing their last 800m in 59.1s and 400m in 29.5s.
Raced by the Patsy Marie Syndicate, she’s a fourth-line descendant from the mare Patsy Marie, a smart filly in her day.
She won the 1980 Methven Two-Year-Old Stakes at her second start, beating smart boys of the era in Bionic Adios and Foroux.
Patsy Marie also won the Roydon Lodge Fillies Stakes at two at Timaru, beating No Excuse Royal Stroll and Times Up.
At three, she ran second to Take Care in the Fillies Triple Crown Classic at Addington.
The late daughter of Schell Hanover also won at Greymouth at four, for three wins in 32 starts.
Her best winning foal was Priceless Franco (2:00.1), who won 12 of 48 starts in Australia for $52,330.
Both Queenofdance and Rocknroll Nevin are from a sister to notable ex-Kiwi Australian winner, Ellis Rose (1:53.9, 10 wins & $91,021), both being by Courage Under Fire from Lyse Doucet, as is brother Malone (1:56.3, two wins).
Other smart winners from Lyse Doucet (Holmes Hanover-Patsy McCreedy) are Sniggihdis (1:55.9, 10 wins & $45,141) and Liberty Rose (1:55.6, seven wins & $89,162).
Liberty Rose, by Mach Three, was sold to race in Perth after only four NZ starts for the Mark Jones stable.
She ran second to Miss Ethel Sunshine in a Magness Benrow Sires Stakes Fillies Heat at Addington, then won her maiden at Roxburgh mid-way through her three-year-old racing.
Liberty Rose has subsequently been exported to North America. She had her sixth start there on Tuesday (NZ time), running fourth in a $23,000 fillies and mares pace at Yonkers, won by Demi Hill in 1:53.
Lyse Doucet (unplaced in both starts) also left useful NZ winner Booster (1:58, seven wins).
Her dam Patsy McCreedy (Bo Scots Blue Chip-Patsy Marie), won three, and left five individual winners, including smart types, Brooksdale Pal (1:56.2, five wins), Padraig (1:55.2, US, five NZ wins, 14 USA wins) and White Star Rocky (two NZ wins, 11 Aust. wins & $79,729).
Queenofdance gets a chance to add to the family record in the Betterthancheddar At Alabar Mobile pace at Addington on Friday.
However, she will start form the eight barrier, against stablemates, Immortal Change (barrier four) and Lets Hustle (barrier five), over the mobile 1980m distance.
Gimmefiveminutesmore, aided by a smart front-running drive by Southland reinsman Brent Barclay, brought up the 27th win for the Mark Jones stable at Forbury on Thursday, July 4.
The front-running role has lifted Gimmefiveminutesmore to back-to-back Forbury wins in his latest claimer racing over sprint trips.
The four-year-old Christian Cullen gelding held well again, this time over 2200m, holding The Night Hawk by three-quarters of a length in the Forbury Claimers Series Final.
Gimmefiveminutesmore, the half-brother to former NZ 3YO mile record-holder, Kotare Mach (1:53), paced Thursday’s trip in 2:44.2 (2:00.1 mile rate), quickening over his last 800m in 57.6s and 400m in 28.5s.
The Night Hawk was the only horse claimed out of the race.
Gimmefiveminutesmore, who last week was a temporary boarder at Waikouaiti with Amber Hoffman, took his career record to six wins from 20 starts for $38,392, for owners, Reg Storer and Noel Kennard.
Eyre I Go, one of two winners last week for the Mark Jones stable, taking his seasonal tally to 26, will step out at Auckland on Friday in the Jeremy Young colours.
“He’s staying up there for a while and he (Jeremy) is doing the work with him, so he deserves to be in his name,” said Mark Jones.
Eyre I Go is bred to be above average being a three-year-old brother to New Zealand mobile 2600m record holder and 2017 Group One NZ Trotting Championship winner Eyre I Come (10 wins from 51 starts for $162,788), and a half-brother to Springbank Eden (13 wins & $98,893).
The grandson of 1987 Rowe Cup and 1988 Dominion Handicap winning mare Landora’s Pride (34 wins & $472,842) continues to make solid progress.
Last Friday’s game Alexandra Park victory in the $14,399 HR Fisken & Sons Trot was his second win in 12 starts.
After a slow start, he moved up parked in the hands of regular north driver Maurice McKendry.
Eyre I Go was a shade too good for fresh Overport Lodge stablemate Michelle, who finished well on the sprint lane from the trail but mixed her gait late, being relegated to third.
He trotted the stand start 2700m in 3:37 (2:09.3 mile rate), the leaders running their last 800m in 59.6s and 400m in 28.6s.
Eyre I Go steps up from last week’s rating 50-60 trot to a rating 55-82 trot for $20,000 this Friday.
Last week’s other Overport Lodge winner was Gimmefiveminutesmore, who capitalised on a postiive front-running drive from Sheree Tomlinson in a Forbury Park Claimers Series Pace.
Gimmefiveminutesmore, a four-year-old Chrisitan Cullen gelding and a half-brother to former NZ 3YO mile record holder Kotare Mach (p3, 1:53, 16 wins & $268,138), is also a half-brother to fast USA winner, Kotare Yael (1:50.2).
He held Ideal Breeze last week in a useful 1:57.5 for the mobile 1700m.
This was his first win in seven starts since transferring to the Mark Jones stable in April.
He previously won four for Woodend Beach trainers, Greg and Nina Hope.
Gimmefiveminutesmore, who contests another Forbury Claimer Series race this Thursday, has now won five of 19 starts for $32,893, for owners, Reg Storer and Noel Kennard.