Blueblood filly gets the job done on debut

NZ HARNESS NEWS

It takes a nice horse for Mark Jones to put the driving gear on these days, particularly on a Sunday.

So, the writing was on the wall when M P Jones was listed as the raceday driver of debutant pacer Naiya Franco at Oamaru on Sunday. And in true Jones fashion, victory was delivered.

But Jones revealed post the well-bred filly’s successful debut, that despite showing plenty of potential around home, it was more the daughter of Mach Three’s manners that led to him jumping in the sulky on race day.

“Let’s just say she’s broken a few carts around home,” he said.

“She gets a bit worked up and loses the plot sometimes, and it was easier for me if I could blame myself than one of the others if she decided to do it on race day.”

There was none of that behaviour on Sunday though, with the daughter of former Group One winning mare Nearea Franco producing a polished performance to win impressively at skinny odds.

“She’s always shown a bit of ability around home, in fact she works pretty good to be honest.

“But she’s not just quite translating that to away from home yet which is a bit frustrating.

“With no disrespect to her opposition, she should have won that by four or five lengths on what she feels like at home.”

Purchased by Mark Denyer at the yearling sales for trainer Dean Braun, Naiya Franco was one of three horses left with Jones by the Australian trainer and it’s likely that in time she will end up on the other side of the Tasman.

But for now, Jones is plotting the path and that might mean one more start before the spelling paddock.

“She’s quite a big filly, I think she will get better,” he said.

“So, we will look to find another race for her and then tip her out and bring her back around Christmas time for racing then.

“They want to breed from her so every win that’s on the page is a big bonus.”

Naiya Franco is the fourth winner from Nearea Franco, following in the footsteps of the brilliant Nike Franco along with Nyree Franco and Nicaea Franco.

She was one of two winners for the day for the Jones team on Sunday with recent acquisition, Moytura making it two in a row in the previous race in the hands of Sheree Tomlinson.

Tomlinson also copped a three-day suspension for her troubles after causing interference to stablemate Some Excusesomewhere when crossing that horse to take the lead just over a lap from home.

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