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500 Driving wins for Jonny Cox

NZ HARNESS NEWS

Jonny Cox returned to his roots to record his milestone 500th New Zealand driving success today.

The former Southlander, now based in Christchurch, piloted Rah De Rah to win at Central Southland Raceway in Winton.

Around 15 years and one week ago, he recorded his first win on the very same track.

“It was Godet here at Winton for Tony Barron,” Cox said of that first success.

Despite driving 34 winners last term, he had been on the verge of the ‘half-tonne’ for quite a while.

It had become something of a running joke amongst Cox’s family and friends as he sat on 499 wins for over three months, his last win coming on June 15.

“I’d had a few seconds and thirds in between times and been unlucky a few times too,” he lamented.

“But it was one of those things – it was always going to happen and it’s good to finally get it and move on to the next 500.”

As is always the case, as soon he brought up 500, number 501 came just two races later behind Jen Jaccka.

Incidentally, that was also a milestone driving win for Cox.

“It was good to get the next one right away, and that also brought up 100 trotting wins as a driver, too.

“It would have been nice to get both marks on the trotter, but it was just as good to get the 500th in my own colours.”

Rah De Rah was the subject of a significant betting plunge, coming in to $4 favouritism after opening at $9.50 on Wednesday afternoon.

It was just his second start for Cox after 33 previous outings for Bruce Hutton, which netted the one win.

“He’s lowly-rated and will only go up to about a 52 after this win, so I can’t see why he won’t win another one pretty quickly.”

Jen Jaccka is a classy mare and she had to be good to win off 20 metres today in what was a New Zealand record time.

She stopped the clock in 3.00.9 for the mile-and-a-half, shaving a second off the previous mark for a mare of 3.01.9.

Interestingly, that mark was set by her half-sister, Jess Jaccka, in 2013 and she was both trained and driven by Cox.

Cox thinks Jen Jaccka’s trainer, Brett Gray, will have lofty ambitions with the mare this season.

“Brett sort of thinks she’s the pick of the lot, really.

“She’s got some pretty big boots to fill but the way she won today, there’s plenty more in store for her.”

Cox’s career is a long, long way from its finish, but he believes the highlight is already set in stone.

“It was a big thrill winning the Dominion Handicap with Jaccka Justy.

“I don’t think anything will ever top that.

“The other highlight was winning the Group 1 in Auckland with Elle Mac back in April.

“They are definitely the most memorable.”