“Jewel” wins NZ Trotting Oaks

J Scott Former News, Latest News




Mark Jones furthered a good association with Oxford owner “Jim” McDonald when they won the $25,000 “Dream With Me Stables” NZ Trotters Trust NZ Trotting Oaks with Commander Jewel at Addington on Saturday, May 14.

The combination enjoyed good success with former smart mare Crystal Star (11 wins and $148,406), and also won four races last year with Skip Bo.Trot_Oaks_with_trophy

McDonald, a brother of the late Bill McDonald (of Starship fame), selected Commander Jewel from the NZ Yearling Sales two years ago.


“I’ve always wanted a trotter. I bred from Racey Tracey (four trot wins) one year, but lost the mare and foal,” Jim said.

Commander Jewel, a daughter of CR Commando and the second foal from minor trot winner In De Fence (by Sundon from seven-win mare Gypsy Del) has been patiently handled by Mark, having just her sixth race start for her Oaks win.


“She is a big overgrown thing and not really a three-year-old, but she wants to be a racehorse,” Mark said.


Mark worked to the front from gate six after hot favourite Madisonz Luck galloped just before the start.

“I was happy to see the favourite gallop but I wasn’t happy when one of my own one (stablemate Heather Castleton) did the same soon after the start,” he said.


Once she led, Commander Jewel was always trotting too well for her rivals, holding Brookside Filly by a length in 2:27.3 for the mobile 1950m (2:01.5 mile rate), running her last 800m in 59.2s and her final 400m in 28.8s.

This was his first Group race training win since relocating to the state of the art Overport Lodge training centre at Burnham three months ago. Mark brought up his 40th training win for the season and his 62nd driving for the season.Jewel_wins_Trot_Oaks


Commander Jewel’s Oaks win was belated compensation for Mark, who after winning last year’s NZ Trotting Derby with filly Shezoneoftheboyz, had the misfortune for her to gallop as favourite, losing her chance in last year’s Trotting Oaks.

This was his second driving win in the Trotting Oaks, having catch-driven the Mark Purdon and Grant Payne-trained Pocaro to win the Oaks in 2009.



Commander Jewel’s Invercargill breeder Don McRae scored himself a free service to Love You as a result of her win in the Group Three Oaks.


Mark furthered a successful day by teaming up with Texican for former boss Cran Dalgety to run second in the $250,000 PGG Yearling Sales NZ 2YO Open Pace later on the programme.


By Jeff Scott