EXTRA WEEK TO PREPARE FOR NZ DERBY
West Melton trainer Cran Dalgety says Smiling Shard has come through the $40,000 Vero Flying Stakes at Addington, Friday, March 26, in super order.
And with an extra week to prepare for the $250,000 Christian Cullen NZ Derby at Addington on Friday week, Smiling Shard is getting a great opportunity be nearing his best for the upcoming Group One.
Photo: Sir Lincoln leads the Flying Stakes field with 150m to run, with winner Kotare Mach unleashing a sprint lane finish. Four Starzzz Flash is next with Smiling Shard looking for a run in behind.
Smiling Shard will derive more benefit than the rest of his race rivals with last Friday’s outing.
“It was a shame he didn’t get a clear run, but he went well and we’re all go for the Derby,” Cran said.
Driver Dexter Dunn said he was “real happy” with Smiling Shard’s first-up 4th for three months behind Kotare Mach, Sir Lincoln and Five Star Anvil, in the Flying Stakes.
Dexter kept the Grinfromeartoear colt out of the early rush, then had him on the move a lap out to move up parked briefly.
Smiling Shard trailed Four Starzzz Flash on the outer from the 1000m, then was unable to find racing room inside the final 100m, finishing on the back of winner Kotare Mach.
Rolleston co-trainer-driver Mark Purdon gave Kotare Mach every chance, leading early, then trailing Sir Lincoln, with Five Star Anvil three back the markers.
Kotare Mach, bred and raced by former NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club president Tony Abell, and wife Gaye, finished best along the sprint lane to win going away by 1 3/4 lengths in a 1:57.9 mile rate (1950m), the leaders running their last 800m in 55.9s and final 400m in 27.2s.
The Mach Three colt has now won 8 of 16 starts for $151,460 in stakes.
Baileys Dream, for Kaiapoi trainer Brendon Hill, made the most of a handy marble to lead throughout the $25,000 Paul Renwick Kitchen and Joinery Centre Free-For-All (mobile 2600m).
The big-winning Dream Away gelding, after getting a comfortable run in front, poured on the pace over his last 400m in a blazing 26.1s to hold a spirited finish from Second Wind (Gavin Smith), handy outer, by half a head.
Kentuckiana Lodge pacer Bettor’s Strike held third a neck back after moving up in the open over the final lap, with Awesome Armbro running on stoutly late for 4th.
All four shaped well in the sprint home for next Saturday night’s Group One $80,000 The Stallion Station Easter Cup (3200m stand).
FIRST GROUP ONE TRAINING WIN FOR MARK JONES
Former Kentuckiana Lodge employee Mark Jones celebrated his 31st birthday with his first Group One training win when Shezoneoftheboyz beat the boys in last Friday’s $80,000 Paul and Pauline Renwick NZ Trotting Derby.
After leading early, then trailing three back in the middle stages, Shezoneoftheboyz took an inside run after Kahdon left the trail with 400m to run.
Photo: Owner Peter Chambers congratulates trainer-driver Mark Jones after Shezoneoftheboyz’s win in the NZ Trotting Derby
Shezoneoftheboyz, now unbeaten in five starts, had too much speed in the run home coming clear to win in 3:17.7 (mobile 2600m) _ bettering the previous NZ 3YO fillies trot record of 3:20, set by 2007 NZ Trotting Derby winner Shirley Temple.
She was only 0.3 of a second ouside the NZ record for colts/geldings, set by last year’s NZ Trot Derby winner Ima Gold Digger.
“I ended up driving her a bit more conservatively than I intended, but it worked out well,” said Jones, a former world driving champion.
Shezoneoftheboyz, a half-sister by Brylin Boyz to King Charlie, was trialled by Victorian horseman Craig Demmler in January for Australian Peter Chambers, a Jakarta-based Managing Director of an Investment company.
Mr Chambers, aged 55, is getting more involved with bloodstock interests as he becomes “semi-retired” in the near future.
Shezoneoftheboyz had won impressively first-up for the Neil Munro stable at Addington on December 17.
The deal was completed with Shezoneoftheboyz remaining unbeaten in four starts for Mark Jones, who has 42 training wins for the season. This is only his second season as a public trainer.
By Jeff Scott