NZ DERBY WINNER AT HIS 8TH START
Former Kentuckiana Lodge driver Mark Jones came back from early battering at Addington on April 9 to win the $250,000 Christian Cullen NZ Derby with Captain Peacock.
The unpredictabiity of racing hit the promising young trainer hard early on premier night.
He had a gutter night with his own team _ hot favourite OK Courage galloping out from the ace in the 3 win The Rock Mobile Pace, then hot favourite
Shezoneoftheboyz galloping out of contention in the NZ Trotting Oaks to suffer her first defeat in 6 starts.
Photo: A steamy Captain Peacock is led back by Chanelle Dickie after winning the $250,000 NZ Derby, with driver Mark Jones interviewed by Trackside presenter Greg O’Connor
Just when he was pinned on the ropes, Mark bounced back to win his first pacing Derby _ the same resolve the part-time pugilist hopes to bring to his first celebrity boxing bout against Mike Darby at Addington this Thursday night, April 15.
Mark, who primarily boxes to keep himself fit, has made himself available for a celebrity bout to be staged during a night featuring top NZ amateur boxers from 7.30pm in the Canterbury Park Lounge at Addington. Door sales are $20.
The former world driving champion gave himself a show of upsetting the favs’ with lightly-tried captain Peacock in the $250,000 NZ Derby, after Ladbrooks trainer Dean Taylor selected the inside second row barrier draw behind likely pacemaker Sir Lincoln.
(The NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club allowed connections to select their own starting spot after their horses name came out in a special Derby barrier draw function this week).
Mark had Captain Peacock humming in the trail turning for home.
When the sprint lane came, Captain Peacock kicked strongly and raced away to win the Derby by 1 3/4 lengths _ his 5th win at only his 8th start.
Photo: Mark Jones is congratulated by Captain Peacock syndicate member co-owner Glenys Kennard, who also co-owns NZ Welcome Stakes winner Major Mark. Driver Mark Jones was completing a Derby double, having trained and driven Shezoneoftheboyz to win the NZ Trotting Derby two weeks ago.
Longshot Franco Jamar, who tracked him through, ran 2nd. Favourite Russley Rascal, who had an early dip for the lead, then was shuffled to midfield, stormed home late for 3rd, with Sir Lincoln a nose back 4th, with northern stablemates Courage To Rule and Devil Dodger close-up next.
Mark became a 3rd generation NZ Derby-winning driver, following father Peter, who won the 1982 NZ Derby with Hilarious Guest, and Mark’s late grandfather Derek Jones, who drove 1975 NZ Derby winner Main Adios.
Mark was thrilled to win the Derby for Dean Taylor, a partnership that has been successful for most of Mark’s driving career.
“Dean’s been a big supporter of me during my career and its great to win a big race like this for him. He does a super job,” Mark said.
“Captain Peacock has the makings of a good horse. He’s got speed and can stay. He has the all-round game,” he said.
Mark had previously worn Taylor’s gold and brown colours to win the 2007 $146,490 G1 NZ Free-For-All with former top pacer Waipawa Lad (now in US).
(They were previously the colours of Dean Taylor’s late grandfather, former top trainer Alec Purdon and carried to win numerous Addington features including the 1976 NZ Free-For-All and Pan Am Mile at Addington by Master Dean, a former brilliant pacer named after Dean).
Other feature races Mark and Dean have combined to win include the 2007 $117,000 (Listed) PGG Wrightson Yearling Sales NHT 2YO Pace at Auckland (Lethal Rocket), the 2005 $126,757 (Listed) PGG Wrightson Yearling Sales Fillies (3YO) Pace and 2004 $35,000 PGG NZ Yearling Sales 2YO Fillies Southern Graduette (Life Of Luxury), and the 2000 $35,000 G2 Superstars 4YO Championship (Bruzem).
Photo: A gathering of Captain Peacock’s big syndicate of owners enjoy their big moment with driver Mark Jones.
Captain Peacock, a strong Live Or Die gelding from Enchanting, was greeted in the birdcage by an army of excited owners _ the GAPMAD Syndicate, who race him on lease with G Ball, W Wyllie, R Boon and D Ball, from Ashburton breeders, Keith and Bevan Grice.
Dean Taylor also won races with Captain Peacock’s dam Enchanting (1 win from only 6 starts, by Sands A Flyin) and 4 races and $47,450 with Captain Peacock’s grand-dam Go Anna (Dancing Master-Kerry Khan, by Noodlum-Lady Barbara, by Lordship-Barbara Del, by Armbro Del-Coo Doo).
Go Anna died after leaving only three live foals, including two fillies.
By Jeff Scott