MARK HITS JACKPOT AS SELLER OF QUALITY BLOODSTOCK
Burnham trainer Mark Jones, widely respected as a genuine seller, became part of a rare group to have sold a New Zealand Cup winner.
Brendon “Benny” Hill has trained a two-time NZ Cup winner in Monkey King, and on Tuesday, his new training partner became part of a rare group to have sold a New Zealand Cup winner.
Mark, a genuine seller from day one, could earn no better respect from industry speculators, than offering up Cruz Bromac and parting with him as a qualified but unraced late three-year-old in July, 2015.
His plan, along with Rangiora trainer Andrew Stuart, was to spec-buy an affordable colt from the Australasian Classic Yearling Sales with a view to turning him over as early as possible for a potential profit.
Cruz Bromac, by Falcon Seelster from an unraced half-sister to formerly NZ’s fastest-bred pacer Attorney General (1:48.4, US, $434,952), filled their requirements.
They bought him for $12,000 from the Bromac Lodge draft, with Mark Jones training him for re-sale, but he had to wait on him to grow into his frame.
“He was a big horse but always had wicked speed,” Mark said.
The two trainers knew they had to turn to selling as the stake money in Canterbury wasn’t good enough to retain horses to win the money they wanted for a horse of his ability.
As a late 3YO, Cruz Bromac was offered by Mark to fellow Canterbury trainer, Terry Chmiel, who drove him to win his first public outing, a 2600m stand-start workout in 3:23.8 (last 800m in 55.6) at Rangiora on July 13, 2015.
He then won easily, but was 0.5 seconds outside qualifying time at Rangiora on July 20, when first driven by Blair Orange at his first official trial.
“Cruz” was also offered to the Robert Dunn stable, but with no fast action taking place, Mark offered him to Victorian trainer Dean Braun, who bought him for his clients on Mark’s word alone, without even driving him.
The word was out to a select few before he stepped out publicly.
Mark put his reputation on the line, stating then and there he was of the best horses he’d trained.
The Braun deal was completed after Mark advised Dean “Cruz” had “great potential.”
This was just days before Cruz Bromac qualified at Timaru on July 25, having to travel two hours south of Christchurch to find the next winter qualifying trial.
He finished second for Kimberly Butt (who worked for Mark at the time) in a 2:00.6 mile rate (2000m), the leaders last 800m in 56.8s.
“Dean had only ever bought one other off me, Itz Nosurprisesthere, and she won three Group Ones (2013 NSW, Queensland & Tasmsanian Oaks), so we had a good relationship,.” Mark said.
He was flown to Sydney two days later, making an immediate impact with a luckless fourth first-up in a 1:54 mile at Menangle on August 1, 2015.
Cruz Bromac showed his class second-up, scoring in a 1:55.7 rate over 2300m, a week later.
Within a month coming out of the NZ winter, his potential was highlighted at Menangle on Saturday, August 22, 2015, leading and clearing out by 18.8 metres for Luke McCarthy to win in 1:51.6 (1609m) in a $A20,400 3YO pace (Australian 3YO season ending on August 31).
It was a remarkable transformation after leaving a cold NZ winter and pacing a sub 1:52 mile within a month in Australia.
Rested, he returned in November as a 4YO, winning four of his next six starts in Victoria (twice winning in the hands of Nathan Purdon),
Cruz Bromac then stepped up to Group racing for the first time, running second to subsequent NZ-trained Miracle Mile champ, Have Faith In Me, in the $50,000 Paleface Adios Stakes at Menangle, won in 1:53.2, then a week later at his 12th start “Cruz” ran sixth to the same horse in the Group One $200,000 Chariots Of Fire, the winner clocking 1:48.8.
At five, “Cruz” won six and was twice second in nine starts, winning the Cobram and Hamilton country cups, but finishing eighth in Lazarus’s $400,000 Victoria Cup.
Havng a year off, he returned at six to win the Warragul Cup and gained his first breakthrough Group One win in the 2018 $100,000 Len Smith Mile at Menangle in 1:50.1, beating record-breaking Miracle Mile champ that season in My Field Marshal.
Cruz Bromac underwent an ownership restructure last year, being syndicated by major Braun client, Danny Zvaitsanos, to race with wife Joanna, NSW-based Peter and Zilla O’Shea, and Tasmania’s Warren Viney, and was sent to NZ Allstars trainers, Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, for last year’s NZ Cup.
He won the Methven Cup first-up, finished a luckless fourth in Thefixer’s 2018 NZ Cup, won the Group One $184,000 NZ Free-For-All, went unbeaten in three Inter Dominion Heat wins, before a third in Tiger Tara’s Inter Dominion Grand Final.
After Braun decided not to renew his licence this term, preferring a more relaxed support role in the stable, expatriate NZ horsewoman Amanda Grieve became Zvaitsanos’s official Victorian trainer.
Grieve previously worked for Braun, taking over the running of the Braun stable for a time five years ago and recording a Group One win with NZ-bred Im Corzin Terror in the 2014 Ballarat Cup.
She returned to NZ in 2016, working as a foreperson at Cran Dalgety’s Kentuckiana Lodge for three years, before returning to Geelong again in February be close to her parents living there, and to rejoin the Braun team.
Cruz” won the 2019 NZ Cup on the Grieve/Braun Victoria preparation, which included a top third second-up in a record run Victoria Cup last month.
Zvanitsanos returned “Cruz” to the Allstars stables two weeks before this year’s Cup.
The seasoned Grand Circuit performer improved on a game second (parled) to Classie Brigade in the Kaikoura Cup lead-up on November 4 to win the $750,000 Christchurch Casino NZ Trotting Cup on November 12.
The stars aligned perfectly for Cruz Bromac and top NZ driver, Blair Orange, who had driven “Cruz” in his first trial for Mark Jones, but hadn’t had a steer behind him again until his final fast work before the cup.
Blair Orange, having his 11th NZ Cup drive, stepped him fast from wide out, working to head Classie Brigade at the 2500m.
He then eased tor trail three back after more fancied stablemates, Thefixer, then favourite Spankem, had turns taking over by the 1700m.
When San Carlo (parked) dropped off at the 300m, Blair had “Cruz” out and nursed him round the final turn.
They unwound best to win by a neck over Spankem (Mark Purdon), the luckless Classie Brigade (John Dunn) and Chase Auckland, in 3:56.9 (3200m), the leaders last 800m in 57.5s
This was the much deserved crowning glory in Cruz Bromac’s illustious career, becoming the latest NZ-bred $1 millionaire pacer by banking the $389,710 winning prize
Now a winner of 22 of 46 starts, “Cruz” defends his NZ Free-For-All title on Show day, then heads to Auckland for the Inter Dominions, from November 29 to December 14.
NZ Cup winner Cruz Bromac will forever be Mark’s top advert as a seller.
But add in the likes of Texas Terror (1:50.2, US, 34 wins & $485,000), sold out of his stable after one 2YO start, Rocker Band (1:51.8, $360,354), Glenferrie) Alexis (1:55.9, 19 wins & $288,323), Ohoka Texas (1:50.2, $340,774), Itz Bettor To Win (1:54.3, $212,912), Courage Tells (1:54.1, $393,556), Itz Nosurprisesthere (1:58, $216,900), My Man Dan (1;54.2, $284,032), Glenferrie Alexis (1:55.9, 19 wins & $288,323); Jackaroo Bromac (1:52.4, $242,555), My Jellignite (1:52, $249,539), and Lethal Rocket (1:55.5, $236,417), plus many more, and the pattern is clear.
It would be hard to find a more regular provider of quality bloodstock to Australia than Mark Jones.