Vale Alan Jones
A key figure in the New Zealand standardbred breeding industry Alan Jones has died, just months shy of his 100th birthday.
Set on 500 acres (200 hectares) in Balfour in Southland, Kina Craig Stud was set up by Alan Jones and son Ross in 1980 and carried on through to 2016.
"For a while we would have been the second biggest stud in the country behind Nevele R," says Ross Jones, "for the last 10 years we would have had around 200 foals a year. It was a big operation."
After Alan Jones bought his first mare for breeding in 1970 the stud grew to the extent that at one stage it had around 300 mares on the books.
Among the stud's best-known stallions were Miles McCool, Camtastic, Tuapeka Knight and Our Sir Vancelot, who won 48 races from 97 starts including three Inter Dominions and more than $2m.
"He was dad's favourite - and known as Sandy"
There were literally thousands of winners produced - two of the most prolific performers in the 1990s were Pocket Battleship with 28 wins from 95 starts and Camsplace Alex with 11 victories.
Born in 1922 Alan Jones came from Southland farming stock.
"There have been five generations of Jones' now."
"He left school at 12 as you did back then," says Ross, "you don't realise how long ago it was until you think that he used to do the ploughing behind the Clydesdales."
He was also the starter throughout Otago and Southland for more than four decades. He owned the mobile, driving countless kilometres to race meetings throughout the lower half of the South Island.
"It was 42-43 years in the end - he was well respected by people. He was pretty fair and relaxed and people responded to that."
"Dad loved racing especially in the last 20 years or so, he loved everything about it."
Among the better horses he raced was Scapa Chip who won 8 from 22 in the late 1980s - early 1990s while Tas Man Bromac won 10 from 31. More recently he raced Charlie P (3 from 10), trained by Ross' son-in law Nathan Williamson.
Ross and wife Robyn now run a boutique breeding business on a property adjacent to Nathan and Katie Williamson's at Branxholme, after selling the Balfour property.
In the last few years Alan lived with Ross' sister and her husband in Tauranga.
"They are both doctors so it worked out well," says Ross.
Jones would have been 100 on New Year's Eve.