Bella just keeps on winning


by Dave Di Somma, Harness News Desk

When it comes to winning races this year Bella Button is in royal company.

Last night she made it six wins in 2023 after another finely-judged drive by Gemma Thornley in the Hydroflow Distributors Ltd Handicap Trot at Addington.

That makes her the equal most successful horse in this country this year wins-wise with two others, none other than the unbeaten Millwood Nike and superstar trotter Muscle Mountain. Millwood Nike has won six from six this year and 14 from 14 overall, while Muscle Mountain has won his six races from just seven starts, with his sole defeat coming in the Rowe Cup when he broke at the start and gave the field a huge start.

"When we got her we thought we'd maybe get one or two wins from her," says trainer Mark Jones, "so she has definitely surprised us .... and we are rapt."

Bella Button has won her six from just 11 starts for Jones this year. He purchased her in March after original trainer Scott Lethaby told him she had ability but was battling with tie-up and not living up to her full potential.

“We are a bit unorthodox but we sorted out her issues," say Jones, "we fast work her every day, so seven days a week, and it's definitely worked."

"She feels great and her muscles aren't sore and you can see the results."

When Bella Button arrived at his Burnham barn she had one win from 32 starts, now she has seven wins from 46.

Last night Thornley was placed three back the markers but managed to extricate herself from a potentially tricky position and then powered home to win by nearly two lengths, from Madeleine Stowe and Make My Sundon.

Despite her winning record this year Bella Button still paid $11.20 and $3.20 for the win.

The victory took her past $50,000 in stakes earnings this year. She has now won $57,345 in 2023, and $73,079 overall.

It also continued the very good association Bella Button has with Thornley.

She has 22 wins this year and has won five times with Bella Button, with Jones being successful in her first start for the stable at Timaru on March 15.

Bella Button will keep racing over the winter. Ultimately she will either be sold, or sent to the broodmare paddock.

The Jones' stable completed a double last night when Major Memphis and Sam Ottley won Race 7, the Whitehead Plumbing and Gas Pace.

That gives Jones 34 wins from 204 starts in 2023. He is currently fourth in the trainers' premiership behind Robert and Jenna Dunn (64), Mark and Nathan Purdon (39) and Michael House (37).


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