Upset Methven winner keeps surprising

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Tuxedo Max, who punched above his weight with an upset Methven win last Sunday, can’t find a new home.

“He’s racing great. I can’t sell him and we don’t want a lot for him,” said trainer Mark Jones.

Tuxedo Max finishes best from the trail to upset for Blair Orange at Methven on October 19. (Race Images photo).

Tuxedo Max finishes best from the trail to upset for Blair Orange at Methven on October 19. (Race Images photo).

A son of former Interdominion Grand Final, Hunter Cup and dual
Auckland Cup champ Elsu (1:53.6), Tuxedo Max found some of his sire’s stamina to win from the second row on the grass last  Sunday, October 19.

Back early, driver Blair Orange sent the 4YO to the front 1700m out ahead of Graduate Under Fire, then trailed favourite Return To Sender at the 700m.

The under-rated Tuxedo Max dived through, holding Graduate Under Fire (late clear) by a nose, with Return To Sender close-up half a head away.

“It was a peach of a drive from Blair,” said co-owner Darryl Jones,  who co-bred and races Tuxedo Max with his brother Dean.

Tuxedo Max won in 3:08.3 for the 2400m (stand), the leaders running their last 800m in 60.4s, but was let go by punters being a 26-to-one  hope after being out of sorts at his previous Timaru start when mixing his gait.

That run aside, his spring form his hard to fault.

He led from the four gate and won without being extended over 2000m (2:01 rate) at Rangiora on October 5, and earlier was given a good trip by Blair, but couldn’t quite get past Real Life Hero on the grass at Motukarara on September 28.

Tuxedo Max, now the winner of four from 18 starts, will try his luck at Addington on Friday night,  starting from the 10m line in a 2600m stand start C2-3 pace.

He’s won one from six starts at Addington, having beaten Speights Girl over 2000m from a stand there on May 2, 2014, in a useful 2:30.4 (2:00.9 mile rate).

Tuxedo Max is from a race-winning Village Jasper mare, Paris Hilton, herself a half-sister to smart US winners bred by Darryl and Dean Jones in Victor Vuitton (1:51.4, US) and One Night In Paris (three NZ wins, 1:56.6, US).

Paris Affaire, the Holmes Hanover grand-dam of Tuxedo Max, won six of 26 races trotting for breeder-owners, the Jones brothers and no relation to Mark.

Darryl Jones, a real estate agent for Plains Realty in Christchurch, and brother Dean, who specialises in information technology, grew up in Prebbleton, where their interest in harness racing evolved.

“Our father was a punter. From our place we could see Des and Ben Grice train their horses. We lived next door to Reg Morris, and Barrie and Yvonne Hamilton were family friends,” Darryl said.

“We also went to school with Bruce Negus and Colin De Filippi so harness racing was all around us.”

Their first venture was Torrip Gold, who scored his first win when trained by Barry Hamilton (driven by son Neil) at Otaki in 1984, then notched another when prepared by Colin De Filippi, before being on-sold to race in North America.

Others winners for them include: Shy Mark (three), Crombianco (three), One Night In Paris (three), Cape N Cutter (one), Eltsunami (one), Adhika (one) and Venus Devine (one).

“The best one we’ve bred is Victor Vuitton. We sold him unqualified to North America where he’s won 36 and $430,000. We only wonder what he would have done here if we’d held on to him,” Darryl said.

Tuxedo Max’s dam Paris Hilton descends from a family nurtured by the late Des Grice.

Paris Hilton’s fifth dam Francheska (Nardins Byrd-Hindu Star, by Brahman-Petro Star), was a half-sister to tough pacer Canis Minor (11 NZ wins, 1:57.4, US) and to 1994-95 NZ Broodmare of the Year,  Sakuntala, dam of 13 winners including six-win mare Abbe Princess, Brad Adios (29 wins),  The Orator (1:56.7) and former top Victorian mare Tuapeka Star (22 wins, 1:59).

Tuapeka Star became famous as the dam of New Zealand Cup and Miracle Mile winner Iraklis (1:54.2), former top 2YO Ermis, and Blue And Royal (1:51.6, US); and has bred on as the grand-dam through different daughters of another champ in dual NZ Cup and Miracle Mile winner Monkey King (1:50.8) and 1997 NZ 3YO Pacer of the Year, Lavros Star (1:51.6, US).

“We’re sellers, so if Tuxedo Max is sold, we have a 3YO half-sister to him by Santanna Blue Chip to carry on with, and a Christian Cullen yearling from Paris Hilton,” Darryl said.

Paris Hilton is likely to be bred with $US2.4 million winner A Rocknroll Dance (1:47.4) this spring.