Mark tops 50 training wins for season

J Scott Latest News




Burnham trainer Mark Jones racked up his 50th training win of the season when Skip Bo caused a major upset in a 1-2 win mobile pace at Addington on Friday, July 16.

Mark has exceeded all expectations in just his second term as a public trainer. He has also maintained his high profile as a reinsman with 91 driving wins for the term.

The Mark Jones stable advanced to 51 training wins when Union Buster justified his favouritism with a maiden victory at Rangiora on Saturday.

The stable have won NZ earnings of $566,126 for the term, giving the stable the distinction of being the 9th biggest earning team in NZ in 2009-10.

This season has been a huge step up on 12 training wins and $162,149 on last term.

Mark says at the start of the season and thought if he trained 20 winners he would have a great season.

“We’ve got some great owners that are buying going horses and good young stock, and we have a lot of good owners that breed well-bred stock,” Mark said.

“We’ve sold a lot of good ones over the years but we may look to keep more racehorses and race them,” he said.

Skip Bo, raced by Oxford owner “Jim” McDonald and stable employee Richard “Dundee” Lee, had been working like he should be competitive.

The 7YO Life Or Die gelding kept going strongly in front to return a smart 3:12.6 (1:59.1 mile rate) for the 2600m to score by 3/4 of a length.

Lee, who sacked himself as the driver after being left parked at Rangiora at his previous start in favour, with Mark getting the Live Or Die gelding home ahead of the favourite.

“You would never think you’re going to beat Ultimate Player,” Richard said.

“I thought he going good, and thought I’d put the master up.”

“You probably get the same buzz as if you were driving him yourself, or even a bigger buzz really, to see him win like that.”

Richard felt Skip Bo had improved after his tough run in the open at Rangiora.


“The next day he was kicking and bucking in the paddock. This week he seemed well,” he said.

Mark confirmed he thought Skip Bo, a son of former useful mare Joan’s Gift (seven wins), had a chance of featuring.

“Right from day one, he always worked like he had some abilty,” Mark said.

Co-owner Richard Lee accepted a half-share in Skip Bo from “Jim” McDonald so he would have one to drive, but the horse had became a bit better than first anticipated.

“Jim’s cousin was finishing with him as he’d done a tendon in a leg and  wasn’t going to carry on,” Richard said.

“Jim took him out to his place and looked after the leg, and he’s sound now.”

Skip Bo is the 5th winner as an owner for Richard, who co-owned the first winner trained by Mark Jones _ Man O Man _ in an up to 1 win trot at Oamaru on September 22, 2002.

“Both Mark and I were working at Cran Dalgety’s at the time. We were allowed a horse in work, but Cran didn’t want him racing in his colours,” Richard recalled.

Other winners he’s raced include Streets On Fire, Sure Nan and Heza Brite Hative.


By Jeff Scott