J Scott The Inside Word

Overport Lodge trainer Mark Jones, despite selling 22 of his team to Australia last term and sending a further six to race there, racked up 40 NZ wins last season. Although unable to match hitting 50 in the previous three seasons, it was a pleasing result considering the number exported.

Winning race prizemoney from the NZ operation at $326,489 wasnt far behind the $342,542 total from two seasons ago, when the stable won 51 races.

NZ career winnings from Mark’s training operation are now less than $14,000 short of $2 million, from 232 career training wins.

He achieved the 40 win domestic total with a little help from good mate Blair Orange who found the perfect trip for Ready For Takeoff to score at Addington on Friday, July 19.

Blair Orange, produced a gem of a drive to win with Ready For Takeoff at Addington.

Blair Orange, produced a gem of a drive to win with Ready For Takeoff at Addington.

Mark had enlisted the help to top freelance driver Blair for some of the winter driving duties as he concentrates on developing his younger stock.

Blair, who won with other stable runners, Rock Till You Drop and Classiebee the previous weekend, has 71 wins on the board this term and just over $1 million in stakes. He has now reached 837 career NZ wins.

Ready For Takeoff, a 3YO Jereme’s Jet gelding owned by the Butterworth Racing, was rewarded for consistency after being the runnerup in three of his previous four starts in the 1-2 win grade.

Blair had him away fast to the early lead, then secured the perfect trail behind favourite Bettor Rock On after the opening 200m.

They were a relaxed until on the back of the leader until presented with the sprint lane. Ready For Takeoff found a good finishing kick to grab the win by half a length in a useful 3:19.4 for the 2600m (stand).

The leaders quickened over their last 800m in 57.8s and final 400m in 28.3s.