Cox dead heats for 600th win


While Sam Ottley’s feat of becoming just the second female driver to rein home 500 winners at Oamaru yesterday attracted praise from the racing community up and down the country, Jonny Cox also brought up a milestone of his own – in sensational fashion.

The 36-year-old dead-heated for first with Dashtothebeach in race 8 to bring his 600th driving success.

Favourite Jonique looked home but Dashtothebeach edged up on the inside, and at the winning post they could not be separated.

“It’s a weird one, I had a laugh and thought that maybe it was only win 599 and a half.”

“But I’ll take it.”

Strangely enough it was not his first dead heat. As a junior driver he dead heated with She's A Gamble at Invercargill in 2004 with Galleons Maid (driven by Hamish Hunter).  

It was Cox’s 17th driving success this season, and his 600th comes nearly 20 years after his first (Godet at Winton Sept 20 2002). His best season was the 62 winners he had in 2015.

Cox was born into racing, his grandfather Harry Cox trained at the Winton racecourse for more than 45 years and his father John trained either on his own or in partnership between 1990 and 2018 and drove 113 winners.

After starting out down south Cox worked in Otago before heading to Canterbury, where he now trains a team of 14 at his Leeston stables, just outside Christchurch, along with partner and fellow driver-trainer Kimberley Butt.

Of the best horses and most memorable performances Jaccka Justy stands out. Cox drove and co-trained (with Amber Hoffman) the son of Continentalman to victory in the 2014 Dominion handicap.

“He was a special horse.”

He also drove the All Stars-trained Elle Mac to Group One success in the Caduceus Club 2YO Fillies Classic at Alexandra Park in 2017

Another favourite was the Cox-Hoffman trained New Years Jay.

“She won seven in a row as a six-year-old mare.”

His last winner as a trainer was Folklore (driven by Mark Hurrell) at Addington last Friday.

Now the Sportswriter five-year-old is heading to Friday’s Group One NZ Breeders Stakes where she’ll line up against the likes of Amazing Dream and Need You Know.

“She has drawn three and will need a lot of luck but it’s nice to be there.”

It’s been a busy, and so far successful, week.

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