Mark & buddies gain premier gallops win

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Overport trainer Mark Jones not only featured with a winning training treble at Forbury on Friday, November 9, but picked up a win as a co-owner at the Canterbury Jockey Club’s NZ Cup meeting at Riccarton on Saturday.

Mark is one of 10 in the ownership of the grey Align mare, including trainer Lisa Latta, and fellow harness racing buddies, Andrew Stuart, Craig Thornley and Regan Todd.

Snow Line was recording her fifth win from 32 starts, in the $30,000 Ratings 75 1100m race, taking her earnings to $59,885 with the metropolitan victory.

The previous night at Forbury, the Overport Lodge team gained a bonus win with Strike On Command, a promoted winner of the C3-6 Speights Mobile Pace to remain unbeaten in five starts on the course.

Hot front-running favourite New Years Jay was disqualified from first by stewards after mixing her gait in the run and galloping for over 50 metres.

Mark thought both Strike On Command and Tuxedo Max were just running for place money behind New Years Jay, who looked unbeatable.

Strangely, New Years Jay is yet to be beaten past the line on raceday. She now has five wins on the board and two disqualfications from first.

Strike On Command, a chance drive for junior driver Michelle Neilson, with Blair Orange driving Tuxedo Max, settled fifth, and tracked Classiebee up with cover over the last 1100m.

They sprung out to challenge New Years Jay turning for home and were presented with a chance when the favourite galloped. New Years Jay got down and pacing, clinging her way back to victory but lost the race in the stewards room.

Tuxedo Max, who trailed Strike On Command, lost his chance with a gallop at the 400m.

Rockin Cullen capitalised after being given a great trip behind the leaders by Bob Butt in the first heat of the Stunin Cullen Sprint Series (1200m), held stablemate Eastburn Mara by half a length.

The 5YO daughter of Christian Cullen and former Nevele R Stud 2YO Stakes winner Idancedallnight (p2, 1:59.3, six wins & $103,655), served this spring by Bettor’s Delight, was second-up for the Jones stable.

She had earlier won once when prepared by Kirk Larsen for father and son Southland owners, Paul and Brendan Duffy.

The sister to Waltzing With Cullen (1:51.7, Aust, 15 wins & $139,488) and minor winner Nureyev (2:00), is a distant relative of the famed Regina-Rosehaven-Black Watch maternal line, which earlier relatives of the Duffy family established.

Idancedallnight (Presidential Ball-Ciccio Star), who was raced by Ian Dobson, died in May last year.

Rockin Cullen, after starting from the back row, ran 1:26.5 for the 1200m dash, the leaders running their last 800m in 58.5s.

Eastburn Mara rallied well late after being caught three wide with cover from the outset, then having to lodge his claim four wide from the 400m.

Oasis Dream completed a winning treble for the Overport Lodge raiders when he justified his favouritism in the C1 Dunedin City Ford Pace.

After settling back on the outer early, the improving Major In Art gelding improved parked at the 1000m.

He trailed McCovey Cove (who spurted clear at the 700m) around the final bend and wore that second favourite down in 2:47.6 for the 2200m (stand).

The Forbury treble moved the Mark Jones stable to 14 wins for the season for earnings of $92,130.