IN Racing
Hawkes Bay Racing Column - January 15
Davey Jones was a successful and meticulous horse trainer
John Jenkins | January 15, 2022

Davey Jones, a leading Hawke’s Bay trainer during the 1950s and 1960s, died last week just 12 days short of his 93rd birthday.

Born in Hokitika, Davey Jones moved to Gisborne at an early age and then left home at age 14 to seek a career as a rodeo rider.

He was hugely successful at Hawke’s Bay and Poverty Bay rodeos and was national buck-jump rider for three years in a row.

Always a showman, one of his rodeo tricks was to come out of he chute riding a steer backwards to the applause of the large crowd in attendance.

A man renown for turning his horses out in immaculate condition, Davey Jones proved successful at producing the entire range of thoroughbreds, from two-year-olds to hurdlers, with his first winner being a horse called Beeline.

He was meticulous in everything he did with the horse’s he trained, so much so that his daughters Dianne and Leanne say to this day that they used to spend hours caring and grooming his horses so that they always paraded at their very best on race day.

Davey Jones was the top Hawke’s Bay trainer for several consecutive years during the 1960s, with his best season being in the 1964-65 season when he prepared 31 winners.

Considering that thoroughbred racing back in those days was mainly restricted to Saturdays and Wednesdays it was an impressive tally.

The best horse Davey Jones trained was Froth, winner of the 1959 Auckland Cup.

The daughter of Faux Tirage, bred at Hawke’s Bay’s famous Okawa Stud and owned by the Lowry family, also won both the New Zealand Oaks at Riccarton and Great Northern Oaks at Ellerslie while her other wins included Wanganui’s Jackson Stakes.

He prepared a string of big race winners during the 1960s including Dalvui, winner of both the Hawke’s Bay Cup and Jackson Stakes in 1967 and the 1968 George Adams Handicap at Riccarton.

Gillin, a horse that had unsoundness issues due to his large stature, was another top horse he trained in the early 1960s with his wins including the 1964 Winter Cup at Riccarton.

Other successful horses followed during that decade including Mackley, Riverview, Agricole, Shut, High Disdain, Reciprocal, Pique, Humber and Frivole.

Pique, who was owned by the Holden family of Poukawa, was one of the first horses Davey Jones took to Australia and won two races in Sydney.

Humber won the Masterton Cup and went on to be a successful hurdler while Frivole was the winner of five races and  finished third in the 1969 New Zealand Oaks. She was a daughter of Froth and a half-sister to Frill, who went on to become the grandam of the 1889 Japan Cup winner Horlicks.

Davey Jones never trained a big team but had a great winning strike-rate with the horses he had in his care.

He resurrected his training career in the 1980s and produced Whitole to win both the Hawke’s Bay Cup and Manawatu Cup in 1985 before he finished third in the 1986 Wellington Cup.

Dare was one of the best horses Davey Jones trained in his latter life, with her eight wins from 18 starts including the Group 2 Te Aroha Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes and Rotorua Challenge Stakes.

He took his daughter Dianne into training partnership in 1987, with their first success together being Incredible at Woodville in November that year.

The partnership prepared Etoile D’Or to win the Group 3 Bakharoff Stakes at Awapuni and Group 3 Wellington Stakes and she also finished third in both the Group 1 New Zealand Oaks and Group 2 Royal Stakes at Ellerslie.

Davey Jones was still pre-training and agisting thoroughbreds on his Southland Road property up until a couple of years ago and was a true horseman in every sense of the word..

He is survived by his wife Dulcie, son Peter and daughters Dianne and Leanne.


Richardson pair’s pleasing trial

Matamata trainer Graham Richardson left his local meeting on Wednesday a happy man after witnessing two of his horses quinella a star-studded trial.

Last start Group 1 winner Tiptronic beat out stablemate and Group 1 performer Bonny Lass in a sedately run 1050m heat, which included Group 1 winners On The Bubbles, Sword Of State, Kahma Lass, and stakes winner Festivity.

Richardson, who trains in partnership with Rogan Norvall, said after he only wanted his pair to have a quiet trial but suggested the whole field was like that. He was nevertheless delighted with the way they performed as they prepare for races at the Karaka Million meeting at Ellerslie next Saturday.

Tiptronic is in career best form, having placed in the Group 1 Captain Cook Stakes (1600m) at Trentham before winning the Group 1 Zabeel Classic (2000m) at Ellerslie on Boxing Day. The son of O’Reilly will contest the $110,000 Collinson Fourex Karaka Cup (2200m) at Ellerslie next Saturday.

Richardson was also pleased with the hit-out by Bonny Lass as she prepares for next Saturday’s Group 3 $110,000 Cambridge Stud Almanzor Trophy (1200m).

The Super Easy filly, raced by a large syndicate that includes Hawke’s Bay woman Bronwyn Butler, was an impressive fresh up winner in a Rating 74 race over 1200m at Ellerslie on Boxing Day.

“She is a good filly and her trial was very good as well,” Richardson said.

“I took the blinkers off so she wouldn’t over-race too much, but she will have them back on in the Almanzor.”   


Elephant eyeing more Aussie riches   

The Cambridge husband and wife training partnership of David and Emma-Lee Browne are again eyeing Australian riches with their stable star Elephant, who pleased his connections when finishing third behind outstanding mare Probabeel in a 1050m trial at Matamata on Wednesday.

David Browne was in Victoria over spring with a handful of runners, including Elephant and Rhinoceros, with the former winning the Group 3 Sandown Guineas (1500m) and placing in the Group 2 Feehan Stakes (1600m) and Group 2 Crystal Mile (1600m), while the later won three races there.

Elephant will once again lead the charge for the stable in Australia this autumn, with the $A5million All-Star Mile (1600m) his primary target.

“We were really happy with his trial. We thought it was pretty similar to his trial at Taupo last spring. He did it under his own steam, and even when they slackened he settled very well. He is a more mature horse now,” David Browne said.

While the All-Star Mile is Elephant’s main target, Brown said there are plenty of other options if the gelding with a cult following doesn’t gain enough votes to gain a start in the 1600m feature.

“Hopefully he gets the votes and he comes up bigger and stronger than last time. It would be outstanding,” Browne added.

Elephant could have one run in New Zealand before heading to Melbourne, but Browne said they will make that decision at a later date.   


Big day for Jamie Richards

For New Zealand’s champion trainer, today’s $A2million Magic Millions Two-year-old Classic at the Gold Coast in Australia will be a momentous occasion for two reasons.

Jamie Richards, 32, has been given one of the great honours of world racing by being selected to take a trainers’ licence in Hong Kong for their next season.

The Hong Kong Jockey Club go through a painstaking process to select trainers and jockeys for arguably one of the most competitive racing jurisdictions in the world.

Richards has accepted the invitation while the presently-based Mark Walker will be returning to New Zealand to take over the reins at Te Akau Racing Stables.

Richards is poised for one of his most important race days at the Gold Coast today when he lines up Bright Blue Sky, a $A600,000 yearling purchase, in the Magic Millions feature for juveniles.

“We’re very happy with her. She’s a strong thing and she’s coped with everything we’ve asked of her. However I must say, the yardstick in this year’s race has to be Coolangatta on what she has showed publicly, but I’m happy with my filly and will wait and see  how things unfold,” he said.

Bright Blue Sky gained the last spot in the 16-horse field and, as fate would have it, drew barrier 16. If the four emergencies don’t get a start she will come into barrier 13, with Coolangatta three gates inside her.


Racing annual back on sale

After a two-year hiatus, the Racing Annual is back.

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