Hill and Jones to get underway at Methven
By Jonny Turner
Group 1 winning trainers Brendon Hill and Mark Jones will start their first runners on the first day of their new partnership at Methven on Friday.
Five runners will represent what could develop in to a super stable that has brought the two time New Zealand Cup and two time Dominion winning trainers together,
Hill admitted the pair are still finding their feet and negotiating the finer points of how their new venture will operate.
However, there is no doubt about the excitement around the new partnership.
And that is not just limited to the trainers themselves.
“It has been nice that there has been a lot of positive talk about us giving it a go and some people are saying there should be more trainers doing it and that it is the way of the future,” Hill said.
“It is a new venture – we are just finding our feet.”
“There is a lot to take on board, but we are taking small steps and trying to look after our owners and do the right thing by our horses.”
Hill will produce the partnership’s first two runners from his Swannanoa base when Fine By Me and Washington Lady start in race 4 at Methven.
Fine By Me has had little luck in four previous starts for Hill and driver Ricky May.
It is hoped that can change when she starts from barrier 1 for her new stable.
“She has been going better than it looks, she has had no luck,” Hill said.
“We have got the draw, hopefully she can get off the gate and get handy.”
“She has blinds on this time, so she should be on the bit and on the job behind the gate.”
Washington Lady has drawn barrier 8, relegating her to the stable’s second hope.
“She should only improve off this run, but it isn’t a great draw.”
Donegal Gilbert, who also has May in the sulky, also strikes a tricky draw in race 8.
But, he should be better placed to over come it than Washington Lady.
The 4yr-old went a strong race first up when doing plenty of work sitting parked at Oamaru when finishing little more than a length away from the winner, Sounds Lika Gem.
“Ricky really likes this little horse, he tries his heart out,” Hill said.
“He has been working really nice and he has benefitted from that run the other day.”
“We haven’t tried him on grass before, but hopefully it works.”
Beaudiene Overtake returns from a spell in race 5 for Jones and Hill.
Though the horse has not had a trial or workout leading in to her resumption, she could still go a big race for stable junior driver Korbyn Newman.
“She’s fresh up with no trials or workouts, but her work has been really nice,” Hill said
“Her win was just in maiden grade but I thought it was a pretty good win.”
The Jones arm of the trainers’ new venture starts just one runner at Friday’s meeting in Sioux Princess.
The 5yr-old went a strong race for second in her second-last start at Methven, almost three weeks ago.
The trotter disappointed when galloping behind the gate in a subsequent start at Addington.
Sioux Princess will have another attempt from behind the mobile in race 7 on Friday.