Rising stars come out to play

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Two of the rising stars of Mark Jones Racing make their return to the track tomorrow night at Addington, but both come with heavy warnings from the man charged with getting them there.

Three-year-old pacing filly, Monaco Grace and exciting three-year-old trotter Hot To Trot both begin their new campaigns at Harness HQ this week with eyes towards loftier targets later in the season.

And while both on paper certainly look good enough to win, there’s enough cause for concern for trainer Mark Jones that he’s sending a warning to those who are looking to invest their hard-earned on the pair.

“Monaco Grace seems to have come up really well this time. She seems better than last campaign,” he said.

“But she’s been slaughtered in the handicapping department and is taking on horses who have won nine races while she’s just won the one. She was heavily handicapped for her first win.

“So, it’s going to be hard for her. We’ve got our eye on the Nevele R fillies heat next week with her first and foremost, so she’ll head there and then a few more heats and then, hopefully, the final.”

Drawn two is a big assist to the Woodlands Stud bred and raced filly but punters would be well advised to heed the words of her trainer considering the class of horse she is facing.

Hot To Trot comes into his return to the races with no public runs under his belt but a lot of miles have been clocked up around Overport Lodge in preparation for the resumption.

“I’m quite happy with the way he’s come back up. We’re heading to the races instead of the trials this week because we’ve really got nothing to lose.

“I’d say he’s about 80 per cent at the moment but in saying that he’s still probably good enough to be competitive.”

While Hot To Trot will garner plenty of attention, Jones actually leant toward stable mate Sioux Princess as potentially the better bet in the race.

“I’d say that’s a very winnable race for her. I’d probably lean to her more than Hot To Trot just fitness wise and the fact she’s a 13-race winner who gets into the race really well.”

Major Memphis was an emphatic winner last week. Photo Race Images

Major Memphis and Eyre I Will round out the Friday night racing team and both look at worst good each way prospects.

The former was stunning winning last week when coming from well back in the field but he’s on borrowed time on New Zealand soil with an Australian trip early in 2023 on the cards at this stage.

“We’ve been looking after him a bit, but he was very good last week. We’ve got to drive him for luck again this week from the draw so hopefully he’s running on again.

“He’ll race here through to Christmas and New Year and then his future probably lands him Menangle with Jack Trainor where I think he can go a very good job.”

Eyre I Will returned last week at Ashburton with a solid fourth and is being targeted toward the Sales Series race in October.

“It’s experience building again this week, but he should get a good run from the draw and pick up some money in that race.”

Even before the Addington team get on the float to head and do battle, the stable’s eyes will be on galloper Amaterasu who goes around at the Oamaru meeting earlier in the day.

“She’s unknown on a heavy track, but I take the theory that you don’t know until you try. She steps back down to a mile which given the track conditions will be better for her than racing in the 2200 metre event.

“I’d like to think she’ll be an each way show.”

Kylie Williams will ride the mare.

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