There are some nice targets in sight for later in the season, but right now, it’s one race at a time for promising maiden filly, Monaco Grace.
The Woodlands Stud owned and bred two-year-old will have the first start of a new campaign on Thursday at the Gore meeting in Wyndham, setting up for what should hopefully be a profitable time of it in the deep south this season.
The daughter of Bettor’s Delight has had just one career start where she finished fourth on debut in the Diamond Creek Farm Classic at Invercargill.
Beating her home that day were the talented Your So Fine, impressive Addington winner last week Franco Indie and a very-much in form Cantfindabettorman.
And with two good trials under the belt ahead of this week’s resumption, the speedy filly looks well-credentialed to be considered the horse to beat.
“She’s a nice filly who will go on and nice job I think,” trainer Mark Jones said.
“I think she’s definitely stronger this time in, that wee bit of time out has really helped her develop. Her fitness is on the way up too, but she’s ready enough for this week.
“You would like to think she’ll be right among the action, she’s got a good draw to work with and I’ve been happy with her two trials, but she will keep getting better.”
Safely through Thursday’s assignment, Monaco Grace will aim for the Ladyship Final and then head towards the Sires Stakes series.
Sam Ottley will handle the filly this week and she’ll also be behind Mark Jones Racing’s only other representative at the Southland meeting, Artatac.
The consistent performer lined up on Friday night at Addington and finished down the track behind Franco Niven in what was a very strong field. Today it’s a completely different ball game and the Art Major three-year-old should also be a leading contender in his R57-70 mobile event.
“It’s a nice easier option for him, he’s done a great job.
“We have him in at Timaru on Sunday as well, so he will call in there on the way back and race and then he’ll head to the paddock for a spell.”
Since the start of the new season, Artatac has lined up on six occasions winning once and running second on three occasions. It’s been a profitable month of racing considering the Level Four Lockdown with the son of Art Major grabbing more than $11,000 in stakes for his owners Grant and Katherine Hatton.