Cox drive gets Nandolo home
By Jonny Turner
The road less travel led to driver Jonny Cox plotting the perfect path to victory for open class star Nandolo at Addington on Friday night.
Cox showed a skilled and cool hand to work John ‘Coaster’ Howe trained pacer to the lead from the second row, without a three-wide move, before the pair went on for a commanding four-length free-for-all victory.
Cox has not just been trying to save his horses from covering extra ground, recently.
The COVID19 lockdown has led to a mini reset to his driving career, which is clearly working.
“The lockdown turned out to be a good chance to slow down for a bit,” Cox said.
“I was travelling up and down the South Island all the time, which was starting to take its toll.”
Cox has cut out travel to Southland since harness racing restarted, though he is not ruling out going south for the right reasons.
“I haven’t been ringing up for drives down South, but it’s not to say I wouldn’t go down there if I had a few drives.”
“But, with Addington racing Friday and Sunday I haven’t really need to go.”
“I know Blair [Orange] and Johnny Morrison are doing it, but it does take its toll, especially if you have your own team to look after.”
“So, I am pretty happy to keep ticking over at Addington.”
Though his travelling commitments slowed down, there no rest for Cox during lockdown.
He and fiancé, Kimberly Butt, whose wedding had to be postponed due to the Covid19 pandemic, used the time to work set up a new training property.
Cox was quick to point out that his form in the sulky has been made possible by Howe’s team running hot.
Nandolo’s win came after the pair also combined to win with Aladdin Sane.
Nandolo bounced back to his best after having his hocks treated following his first up run for third at Addington two weeks ago.
“He felt like a different horse,” Cox said.
“I managed to get on the back of Matt Anderson’s horse [Change Is Good] early and he got a good run through after that.”
“I think having horses around him helped too because he is a much better horse on the bit.”
Once he found the front Nandolo reeled off a 56.5sec last 800m to win by four and a quarter lengths over Tango Tara.
Alladin Sane scored in the opposite circumstances, powering home from off the speed to win in rating 40-55 company.
“It was a good effort, coming from the unruly can be like starting off 10m,” Cox said.
“He came to the end of it the last 50m, but they were all flat out.”
Though he could not bag a win, Ricky May’s return to driving at Addington on Friday night could only be judged as a raging success.
May went close in several races, notching three third placings and a second.