Smart mares on the move

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The Mark Jones Racing Stables is entering a rebuilding phase with last season’s smart 4YO mares, Crystal Star and Telemecanique, on different career paths.

Crystal Star, who won 11 of 40 starts for $148,406 in stakes for owner “Jim” McDonald, has been sold as a broodmare to Australian owner Peter Chambers.
Telemecanique, who stepped up last term, jets out of Auckland on Monday August 30 for North America. She won 11 of 30 NZ starts, earning $102,839 for owner Dave Neal.

“Its a massive loss out of the team with those two going. It looks like I’ll have a pretty quiet season,” Mark said.

Ironically, both mares’ became victims of their own success under the NZ handicapping regulations.

“Lack of opportunities for mares to race was a major factor in them moving on,” Mark said.

“Crystal Star was placed in the Premier Mares’ Championship at Addington in February _ one of only about three Group races for mares in NZ _ and got just over $3000 for third in a Group (Two) race.”

“The system just doesn’t look after those good horses enough. You try to get those horses and all of a sudden they are the worst horses to have in the stable because you can’t get races for them.”

Crystal Star earned $14,250 with her second to upset winner Tact Lizzie in the Group One $80,000 PGG Wrightson NZ Breeders Stakes at Addington in February, won in a mares’ record (3:09.4, mobile 2600m).

She did win two useful stakes races this year _ the Group Three $29,423 Signprint 4YO Championship at Forbury (beating subsequent Easter Cup winner Sleepy Tripp) and in the $25,353 ICE Bloodstock Canterbury Regional Country Cups Final at Addington.

She retires with a fast 1:54.6 placed mile mark, set when running third behind Joyfuljoy and Imagine Me in the 2009 Harness Jewels 3YO Fillies Diamond at Ashburton.

Mark says its a shame to lose Crystal Star, but will be excited to train some of her foals in the future.

“Part of the deal was that she be retired and be sold as a broodmare,” Mark said.

Mark says Crystal Star had a great attitude and will be hard to replace.

“She had a problem with bad ankles early on and thats the reason I ended up with her. Early on, we were flat getting her to the races so we were lucky to get what we did,” he said.Telemecanique

“Even if I buggered up her training, she would still put in and make me look good.”

Mark thinks Telemecanique has the right qualities to extend her career in North America.

“Telemecanique had limited opportunities here and was limited from a stand. She’ll be able to race for a minimum of $US40,000 each week in America, all going well, touchwood,” he said.

“She probably had the most brilliance out of two of them, but was not the best from stand starts.”

Telemecanique is likely to race for the next 3-4 years in North America.

“It won’t cost the owner here one cent, but he’ll get half her winnings on a 50 percent deal.”

“Hopefully she can win $500,000 and get down to close to a 1:50 mile time.”

The daughter of Falcon Seelster will be trained at New Jersey by Richard “Nifty” Norman.

“Nifty was Very good to me when I’ve been up there in the past. Hopefully I’ve sent him the right one up there.”

“She will probably race mostly at (Harrahs) Chester, but I’d love to see her race at the Meadowlands.”

Mark believes she will have enough stamina to compliment her speed in competitive mile racing.

“She went 3.10.9 (mobile 2600m) when she moved up parked to beat Harley Earl at Addington in April. She can go with any horse. She has always had speed and last season showed toughness as well.”

Telemecanique’s best mile rate in NZ was a fast 1:56.1 winning from the nine gate over 1700m in a Southern Belle Speed Series Pace at Invercargill on January 14.

By Jeff Scott