Barron starts stint with Mark Jones
By Dave Di Somma - Harness News Desk
Junior driver Ellie Barron’s hoping a change of scene will equate to a chance of luck, with the Southlander moving north for a short stint at Mark Jones’ Burnham stables.
“I was just keen to learn a bit more, especially for a stable that’s always supportive of junior drivers.”
On Sunday at Addington she will team up with his trotter Kowhai Sundown as she tries to secure her first driving success since winning in Invercargill on March 1. That followed four winners in February.
“I felt like I was on a bit of a roll before Covid ….”
Barron has had the odd spell in Canterbury before, working for her uncle Ken Barron.
This time she’s staying with him - “we’re flatmates” - and working at Jones’ Overport Lodge just down the road.
Barron’s best known for her quick actions that saved fellow driver Ricky May’s life after he collapsed during the Central Otago Cup at Omakau in January. A trained physiotherapist she performed CPR on him until paramedics arrived.
Just how long she’ll be in Canterbury is uncertain. She says it’s just “for the time being” with the likely scenario she’ll return south in the spring.
“All of dad’s (Clark Barron) horses have been turned out but by the end of September/October they will be ready to rumble.”
In the meantime she’s looking forward to driving some of Jones’ horses, the likes of Burnham Boy, Plutonium Lady, Lulu Le Mans and Willison.
But firstly it’s Kowhai Sundown, a winner two starts back for Sam Ottley, before a seventh last Sunday.
“He was just too far off them last start, he’s back to mobile on Sunday”
He has won from a mobile before, by four lengths, though it was two years ago ( 2018 Haras des Trotteurs 2YO trot silver).
And another junior driver Mikayla Lewis has also moved stables. She’s linked up with Mark Purdon, Natalie Rasmussen and the rest of the powerful All Stars team at Rolleston.
She’s driven 10 winners since her first in 2018, with the bulk of them for Ashburton trainer Brent White.
“Brent got me started in the driving ranks and we did quite well but I needed to look closer to Christchurch. One night we were out socially with Mark and Natalie and Nat said that if a position became available they would be interested if I was and here I am”
Lewis’ partner is Nathan Purdon (Mark’s son) who trains in partnership with Cran Dalgety at West Melton.
While working at the stables and driving at the trials is her immediate priority, she could well don the stable’s famous colours for the first time on raceday in the new season.