Former World Driving Champion Mark Jones was a noted observer at Albion Park last night (Saturday).
The outstanding horseman was on a scouting mission in preparation for the upcoming Brisbane winter carnival, he’s been catching up with locals while looking at properties to suit his team.
Jones was part of the carnival last year and he’s keen to return but his numbers will be much bigger and he’s looking at teaming up with another Christchurch based horseman in Andrew Stuart.
“We’re looking at having at a team of eight ideally, I’ll have the bulk of those but Andrew is keen to get his filly Sociable and maybe another one for the carnival. We’re good mates and we’ll join forces during our Brisbane stay, it makes perfect sense.” Jones said.
Last year, Jones was based at Logan Reserve with Shannon Price and Scott Miller but with the likelihood of larger numbers this year; he’s looking for a bit more room and has inspected a number of properties in the past few days.
Based in Christchurch but also operating a satellite stable from TABCORP Park, Menangle, Jones has enjoyed good success this season through the likes of Delightful Memphis, Rocker Band and Whittaker in Australia while The Bus has been the stable star in New Zealand.
Jones has trained almost 40 winners this season in New Zealand while selling many others from his stable.
But he’s eager to get many to Brisbane.
“I’m looking at bringing Delightful Memphis, Rocker Band, Whittaker, The Bus, Getarattleon, Tres Vite and maybe one or two others depending on form and health.
“Hopefully I’ve got most bases covered and there’s something for the bulk of the features. Last year was a great learning curve so hopefully we can make a real go of it this year, I feel I’m better prepared and hopefully the horses show their best.
“It’s very competitive racing here and nothing is taken for granted. You have to come prepared and ready to race hard.”
Jones has sent Delightful Memphis (11 wins) to Melbourne recently in readiness for the upcoming mares features at TABCORP Park, Melton.
The main target is the Gr.1 $100,000 Benstud Queen of the Pacific on May 19.
Anthony Butt has been booked to partner the high quality mare.
Jones believes exciting three-year-old The Bus should measure up for the Queensland Derby and is happy since the Art Major colt arrived in Sydney last week.
“He’s won 6 races this season and taken on the best available over home so I’m confident he can measure up here, a race like the Queensland Derby profiles really well for a horse like him.
“He comes out of the Southern Supremacy at his most recent start; he met some quality rivals but got a little keen at various points which didn’t help.”
The Bus finished 4th behind the highly regarded Duke Of Wellington last start.
*Jones won the 2003 World Drivers Championship in Canada
*The Bus is named after All Black Julian Savea who is nicknamed “The Bus”
Chris Barsby | RQ Web News | May 7