NZ Cup Week ‘Lavros” double

J Scott Former News, Latest News



Master Lavros confirmed he’s an excitement machine with a final mile in 1:58.9 and a closing 800m in 56.7s to win again with removable hood still intact at Addington on Show day.

Kypros markThe giant-sized Sundon gelding made it a winning Cup week double for owner Kypros Kotzikas and Burnham trainer-driver Mark Jones.

This time he again stepped brilliantly off the unruly to lead throughout, taking out the $14,999 Lone Star Riccarton Handicap Trot by 3 1/2 lengths from trailer Yankee One, stopping the timer in 3:21 for the entire 2600m.

The $1.50 win favourite wasn’t pressured early but stepped up the tempo over the final 800m when second favourite Murcielargo ranged up three wide to try and get near the favourite.

Show day mlavrosHe slipped four lengths clear at the 300m and won easing down for his fifth win on end and his sixth win from eight career starts.

“Its good for Kypros. He’s a great owner. He said I can pick out another couple but I haven’t been round to have a look at them yet,” Mark said.

Mr Kotzikas, and his late wife Mary, who he lost to cancer in March, bred Master Lavros from Lavra Noblesse, an imported Sierra Kosmos mare, who earlier left Kosmopolitan Lavra (four wins from only 15 starts).

The major owner, who raced 1997 New Zealand Cup winner Iraklis (1:54.2, 22 wins & $1,019,042), has had a quiet time on the racing scene in recent years, but in Master Lavros, he has a squaregaiter bound for open company.  
Dress rug mlavrosMark has freshened Master Lavros for premier racing at Auckland in December.


Ohoka Texas bettered 4:00 over for the 3200m (stand) for the second time in three days, but had to settle for second to 2011 Hunter Cup winner Stunin Cullen in the six-win and faster Colin & Sylvia McLachlan Memorial Pace on Show day.

Showday 3200m pace An early break off the 10m line may have cost Ohoka Texas the win, as he was only getting a 10m advance from Stunin Cullen in handicap anyway.

Mark had Ohoka Texas hitting his straps before long but he was near last on settling. He sent him forward to his favoured front-running role at the 2200m.

Mark opened the field up on the home turn as he established a four length break, but Stunin Cullen, also a former NRM Sires Stakes winner at three and the winner of nearly $1.5 million, unwound quickly to win going away by 3/4 of a length.

Stunin Cullen (20m) paced the 3200m in 3:58.3, (0.3 of a second quicker than Terror To Love ran to win the NZ Cup on Tuesday). Ohoka Texas was second, being race-timed 3:59.6. Ohoka Texas kept the pace strong over the lead time last mile in 1:56.4 and the final 800m in 56.9s.

In Tuesday’s Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup, Ohoka Texas was unable to go with the leaders, after trailing, but still clocked in at 3:59.9 for the extreme distance.



Three days earlier Master Lavros fulfilled a six-week wait when he scored the easiest win on NZ Cup day 2012 _ by 9 1/4 lengths in a swift 3:19.9 (2600m stand).

Lav cup day“They don’t normally have a C1 trot on Cup day. I was going to plan to try and win another before Cup day, but I couldn’t race him when I found they were going to have one for $20,000,” said trainer Mark Jones.

Master Lavros was reserved for Cup day after scoring a penalty-free junior drivers race win in the hands of Regan Todd at Addington on September 20.

“He’s not foolproof yet but has a good motor. He has an amazing heart _ he came back and hardly took a breath,” Mark said after Tuesday’s premier 1-2 win trot.

Master Lavros ran his rivals ragged, the leaders trotting their last mile in 2:00, with the winner trotting his final 800m in 57.9s.

After stepping well and settling in the third line, Mark sent him forward ahead of second favourite Jag’s Invasion to take control with 1400m to run.

“I had to stay in front of Jag’s Invasion, with a 20m start. They looked the two,” Mark said.

“He could have trotted away a lot quicker but I was quite happy to get round safely early.”

“He trotted away pretty quick but I wanted to keep him off the markers.”

Kyp markMaster Lavros, a 4YO Sundon gelding raced by Lavros Lodge owner Kypros Kotzikas, has been perfectly placed. His Cup day win was his fifth from seven starts, but he’s only just advanced to a 2-win assessment.

He is likely to make the most of the premier stakes level on offer on Friday, then be freshened.

“i wouldn’t mind taking him to Auckland, but there are a lot of good 4YO trotters around, with Charlemagne and Escapee, just to name a couple,” Mark said.

Master Lavros, potentially, could be one of the better horses Mark has trained.

“He’s my equivalent of Christen Me!,” he said.

Mark says Master Lavros has tremendous speed for his size.

“Normally when they’re that big not that quick. If you want at home, he could run a quarter with the pacers.”

“He’s actually better with a sit but might be a while before he gets one.”

Lavros group cup day“He wants to do it too, which is a good thing.”

Earlier, Ohoka Texas tired in the run home, after leading, then trailing, finishing  12th in Terror To Love’s $600,000 Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup.

“Around the last bend I thought I was a place chance, but it showed where he’s at. His form has tapered off and he’s just a notch below the best ones. There is not much more we can do with him, so hopefully he’s off to America.”

Alex, the other starter for the Mark Jones stable on Cup day, fought on for an honest fourth in the $20,000 Hydroflow Graduation Series Final, taken out by the unbeaten Mossdale Connor in a strong 1:56.8 rate for the 1950m.

 By Jeff Scott