Mark wins NZ Derby double

J Scott Former News, Latest News


Mark Jones completed a rare NZ Trotting and Pacing Derby double in the same season in 2010.

He became only the 6th driver to win both blue riband events at Addington in the same term, but only the 4th indvidual driver to achieve the feat.

Former maestro Maurice Holmes won both NZ Derbys three times _ 1946 (Acclamation & Free Flight), 1957 (Alight & Tobacco Road) & 1960 (Winterlight & Student Prince).

The only others to have won the coveted double are Jack Litten in 1955 (Regal Mile & False Step), and Mark Purdon twice _ in 2001 (Dependable & Young Rufus) & 2008 (Doctor Mickey & Auckland Reactor).  

Mark Jones gained immense satisfaction from winning his first Group One event as a trainer when he prepared and reined top trot filly Shezoneoftheboyz to beat the boys in the $80,000 Paul and Pauline Renwick NZ Trotting Derby on March 26.

He celebrated his 31st birthday by delivering the goods with Shezoneoftheboyz for visiting Jakarta-based Aussie owner Peter Chambers.

Shezoneoftheboyz stretched her then unbeaten record to five in the Derby.

She had too much speed in the run home coming clear to win in 3:17.7 (mobile 2600m) _ bettering the previous NZ 3YO fillies trot record of 3:20, set by 2007 NZ Trotting Derby winner Shirley Temple.

The Brylin Boyz filly was only 0.3 of a second ouside the NZ record for colts/geldings, set by last year’s NZ Trot Derby winner Ima Gold Digger.

“I ended up driving her a bit more conservatively than I intended, but it worked out well,” said Mark.

Shezoneoftheboyz, a half-sister to smart squaregaiter King Charlie, was trialled by Victorian horseman Craig Demmler in January for Mr Chambers, a Jakarta-based Managing Director of an Investment company.

Mr Chambers, aged 55, is getting increasingly involved with bloodstock interests as he approaches “semi-retirement.”

Shezoneoftheboyz had won impressively first-up for the Neil Munro stable at Addington on December 17 before being snapped up for the Jones stable.


Only a week later, Mark Jones took an early battering on April 9, then came out a big winner in the $250,000 Christian Cullen NZ Derby.
The unpredictabiity of racing hit the promising young trainer hard early on premier night.

He had a gutter night with his own team _ hot favourite OK Courage galloping out from the ace in the 3 win The Rock Mobile Pace, then hot favourite Shezoneoftheboyz galloping out of contention in the NZ Trotting Oaks.

Just when he was pinned on the ropes, Mark bounced back to win his first pacing Derby _ the same resolve the part-time pugilist brought to his first celebrity boxing bout, defeating Mike Darby at Addington on Thursday, April 15.

Mark, who primarily boxes to keep himself fit, has made himself available for a celebrity bout to be staged during a night featuring top NZ amateur boxers.

The former world driving champion gave himself a show of upsetting the favs’ with lightly-tried captain Peacock in the $250,000 NZ Derby, after trainer Dean Taylor selected the inside second row barrier draw behind likely pacemaker Sir Lincoln.

The NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club allowed connections to select their own starting spot after their horses name came out in a special Derby barrier draw function.

Mark had Captain Peacock humming in the trail turning for home. When the sprint lane came, Captain Peacock kicked strongly and raced away to win the Derby by 1 3/4 lengths _ his 5th win at only his 8th start.

Longshot Franco Jamar, who tracked him through, ran 2nd. Favourite Russley Rascal, who had an early dip for the lead, then was shuffled to midfield, stormed home late for 3rd, with Sir Lincoln a nose back 4th, with northern stablemates Courage To Rule and Devil Dodger close-up next.

Mark was thrilled to win the Derby for Dean Taylor _ a partnership that has been successful for most of Mark’s driving career.

He had previously worn Taylor’s gold and brown colours to win the 2007 $146,490 G1 NZ Free-For-All with former top Kiwi pacer Waipawa Lad, now racing in the US.

Other feature races they have combined to win include the 2007 $117,000 (Listed) PGG Wrightson Yearling Sales NHT 2YO Pace at Auckland (Lethal Rocket), the 2005 $126,757 (Listed) PGG Wrightson Yearling Sales Fillies (3YO) Pace and 2004 $35,000 PGG NZ Yearling Sales 2YO Fillies Southern Graduette (Life Of Luxury), and the 2000 $35,000 G2 Superstars 4YO Championship (Bruzem).

Captain Peacock, a strong Live Or Die gelding from Enchanting, was greeted in the birdcage by many excited owners _ the GAPMAD Syndicate, who race him on lease with G Ball, W Wyllie, R Boon and D Ball, from Ashburton breeders, Keith and Bevan Grice.

Dean Taylor also won races with Captain Peacock’s Sands A Flyin dam Enchanting (1 win from only 6 starts) and 4 races and $47,450 with Captain Peacock’s grand-dam Go Anna (Dancing Master-Kerry Khan, by Noodlum-Lady Barbara, by Lordship-Barbara Del, by Armbro Del-Coo Doo).

Go Anna, who won 4 races and dead-heated for 3rd behind Iman in the 1995 NZ Oaks, died after leaving only three live foals, including two fillies.

By Jeff Scott