Five Marlborough wins in two days

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Five wins at the two-day Marlborough Harness Racing’s summer meet, including victory in the $16,600 Percy Haack Memorial Marlborough Cup with stable pacing star Saveapatrol on the second day, has elevated the Mark Jones stable to 38 training wins for the term.

The meeting was dominated by Woodend Beach-utlised trainers with Mark’s team showing the benefits of the seaside training option under the direction of right-hand man Regan Todd.

Saveapatrol, with Blair Orange back in the bike, were too good again in the Percy Haack Memorial Marlborough Cup.

Saveapatrol, with Blair Orange back in the bike, were too good again in the Percy Haack Memorial Marlborough Cup.

Saveapatrol, a luckless fourth in Friday’s $40,000 Pelorus Trust 4YO Classic, after being forced to move up parked outside pacemaking winner Franco Nelson, showed his class on Sunday, January 12, 2013.

The Christian Cullen gelding ended the Top of the South-winning spree by Donegal’s Guest, holding out the fellow 20m marker by 1 1/4 lengths in theĀ  3200m cup.

Saveapatrol strolled to the top mid-race for Blair Orange and although Donegal’s Guest moved up to dispute the pace over a strong final 1000m, the former with the inside running, proved too strong.

He paced the 3200m at Blenheim in 4:05.4 (2:03.3 mile rate), quickening over his last 800m in 56.5s.

Mark has bypassed the quick turnaround for Thursday’s $50,000 Yaldhurst Hotel Northern Southland Cup (2700m), but intends to start him in the $40,000 Ascot Park Hotel Invercargill Cup (3200m) on January 25.

Saveapatrol stretched his impressive overall record to nine wins from 12 starts, taking his earnings to $84,553 for owner Grant Hatton.

Smart Caesar, raced by Neil and Alan Edge, confirmed his potential with a strong winning double at Waterlea.

The 4YO gelded son of Julius Caesar and speedy mare Cyclone Lady (six wins) backed up well on the second day, moving up parked and finishing off in style in the More FM Mobile Pace.

Smart Caesar scored with authority by two lengths from Maskika, and favourite New Deal, who was outfinished in the run home.

He rated a quick 1:57.9 for the mobile 2300m, the leaders quickening over their last 800m in 56.5s.

“He’s a pretty nice horse in the making,” Mark said.

“He will head to a junior race in two weeks, then the maiden final at the end of the month.”

Mark also trained Rock Till You Drop (3c McArdle-Joyrock), the younger half-brother to former NZ FFA winner Waipawa Lad (1:52.2, US) to win on Sunday.

Rock Till You Drop, raced by Carl and Wendy Nordqvist, improved on a first day third. He was too strong for long-time maiden Shamrocks Boy in a 2:00.8 rate for the 2300m, the last 800m in 58.5s.

The Jones stable also picked up seconds on Sunday with Goodness Gracious Me, who was pipped late by trailer Murphy Brown in the $15,000 Nevele R Stud 3YO Fillies Heat in 1:57.9 (mile), and Strike On Command, who was a strong-finishing second to Red Hot Toddy in a C1 pace.

Besides Smart Caesar, Mark’s other first day winners was Sunoflindenny, who made the most of a quick start to lead up and post a track record 2:58.8 for the stand start 2300m in the Hirepool Discretionary Trot.

The 4YO Sundon gelding was always in control, although Gin Rummy finished stoutly to get within a length of him at the line. He rated 2:05 for the stand start distance, quickening over his last 800m in 58.8s.

Sunoflindenny’s overall 2:58.8 was 0.4 of a second inside the previous track mark, set by The Tin Man at Waterlea in 2008.

The Butterworth Racing Syndicate-owned squaregaiter mixed his gait early on the second day, but made ground to finish sixth behind impressive winner Sheemon.