Jones to set the pace again

By Jonny Turner

Mark Jones set the early pace at the National Yearling Sales on Tuesday and will be out to make the same impact at Addington on Friday night.

Jones set the tone for the sale of southern pacing yearlings when bidding to $150,000 to take home the first lot sold in Christchurch – a Bettor’s Delight filly from Tact Lizzie.

Jones looks a big chance of setting the early pace at Addington with Lil Miss Muscles stepping out in race 1.

The four-year-old ran a strong race in her debut at the same track earlier this month when leading up and kicking on strongly to run second to Sunny Louis.

Lil Miss Muscles looks a huge threat on Friday if she can step away when moving to the standing start tapes from the mobile, which Jones thinks she can.

“She is pretty good and has stepped away at the trials.”

“She went good first up and I would like to think she would be pretty competitive on Friday night.”

Jones rates Lil Miss Muscles a promising type with the scope to go through to stronger grades.

Though it may not happen all at once with a patient approach required.

“I think she will win her share of races in time, but she is a big light-framed mare so we will just take our time with her.”

Jones returns his smart two-year-old of last season in Kowhai Sunset to the track in race 3 on Friday night.

Many punters will hold concerns about the horse galloping in his recent trials.

But with the Jones stable working to correct those errors there is confidence in his camp he can do things right.

“We have found a bit of an issue we have worked on since then and hopefully he should do things right.”

“The only thing is that he might need the run, horses like Harry Stamper have had a lot of racing.”

Kowhai Sunset took on the best two-year-olds in New Zealand last season, finishing fifth at the Harness Jewels in his last start.

He’s on a one-way track to clashing with the best of his age group again.

But Jones will also take a patient approach with the three-year-old.

“We will just see what happens, but I am thinking about giving him a couple of runs and then freshening him up.”

“He won’t be going to Auckland at this stage, the trotting derbies are later in the season so we have plenty of time.”

Jones drives Kowhai Sunset himself with Samantha Ottley to drive Lil Miss Muscles.

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