Mark brings up 400th training win

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Overport Lodge trainer Mark Jones brought up his 400th training win when I Get Around won on the second day of the Nelson summer meeting on Sunday, January 10, 2016.

The former World Champion driver has focused on the training role in latter years with his stable earnings having quickly soared past the $3.7 million mark.

I Get Around, who notched her first win at Nelson and became the 400th training success for Overport Lodge trainer Mark Jones.

I Get Around, who notched her first win at Nelson and became the 400th training success for Overport Lodge trainer Mark Jones.

He prepared his first winner with a licence to train in 2002 when Man O Man won a maiden trot at Oamaru.

Mark, in his eighth season as a professional trainer, prepared 12 winners in his first term branching out as a public trainer in 2008-09.

He switched from a licence to train in the second half of that season, after already racking up 18 wins.

Subsequently, he’s trained 50 or more winners each season, apart from 2012-13 when he was stuck on 40.

His best season to date was 73 wins in 2014, with the stable earning $768,152, with star trotter Master Lavros being the main stable earner.

Mark also racked up 70 wins last season for $677,709 in stakes. Having a second stable at Woodend Beach on top of his Burnham stables is proving a worthwhile extension to his operation.

He’s having another good season with 25 wins on the board for $336,309 in stakes, highlighted by the second Dominion Handicap win for top trotter Master Lavros at Addington in November.

With Master Lavros, and stable pacing star Saveapatrol, both sidelined with injuries, speedy pacing mare Rocker Band, unbeaten in both starts this term, is the main stable flag-bearer over the second half of the season.

Rocker Band, driven in both victories this term by Sam Ottley, was a slick 1:53.3 mile winner first-up at Winton last month, and repeated with a comfortable front-running win in the Golden Edge Nelson Cup Prelude on the first day at Nelson.

She didn’t start on the second day, being reserved for a Prodigal Seelster Summer Of Speed Series Heat at Addington on Friday, and next month’s Premier Mares Championship at Addington.

I Get Around, the stable’s latest maiden winner, improved on a good second on the first day at Nelson to deliver in the Route 6 Automotive/Richmond Top 10 Holiday Park Mobile Pace.

The 3YO Bettor’s Delight filly was given every chance by Sam Ottley, showing gate speed from the six gate to wrest the early lead, then was perfectly placed after taking a trail behind Patrick Bee.

I Get Around rounded the race off well along the sprint lane to win going away by a 1 1/2 lengths in a strong 2:58.7 (1:59.8 mile rate) for the mobile 2400m, the leaders running their last 800m in 57.3s.

The filly, raced by Australia’s Kevin Stanley (who raced Strike On Command), along with Cantabrians, Grant and Katherine Hatton (Grant racing Saveapatrol), and Phil and Christine Smith (who formerly raced 2006 Dominion Handicap winner Whatsundermykilt), showed promise at two but is now strengthening into her good frame.

She is the first foal and only NZ foal from Runaround Rhonda, an Artsplace half-sister to Saveapatrol (11 wins from 18 starts for $145,618).

Runaround Rhonda, a daughter of the big-winning Falcon Seelster mare Rondel Franco (1:51.6 US, 35 wins & $684,003), was also prepared by Mark, but was retired after placing only once at Motukarara in eight starts.

By Jeff Scott