Long-time trainer Stephen Jones has moved his stable to Scone from the Gold Coast and could make an immediate impact with a winner at Scone’s meeting on Sunday.
Jones will start Sportstar Samuel in the Segenhoe Stud Benchmark 65 (2200m), one of 18 horses he has brought south with at least another eight still to come.
Jones trained out of Rosehill for many years but when developers moved in 13 years ago sold his stables and moved to the Gold Coast.
However reductions in prize money in Queensland prompted him to move back over the border.
“I have trained for Gerry Harvey for many years and he and Stuart Ramsey both urged me to move to Scone so here we are,” Jones said.
“It is a marvellous track with outstanding training facilities and I wish I had done it sooner.
“In all the years I was training in Sydney I never had a runner at Scone.
“So far all of my Queensland clients have been happy for me to bring their horses down here but I am also looking for new clients.
“The move has taken about six weeks but apart from the other horses still to come down we are just about settled in.”
Jones has no worries about Sportstar Samuel, the only three-year- old in the race, handling the testing 2200m.
“He would run two miles on his ear,” Jones said.
“The horse will settle well back but he has a powerful finish and he is going to love that long straight.”
Three starts back Sportstar Samuel won a 2150m maiden at Ipswich, ran eighth over 2100m at Lismore then was getting home well when fourth at the Sunshine Coast.
“He got too far back at Lismore and you can’t do that on that track,” Jones said.
Jeff Penza will ride the three-year- old, re-igniting an old friendship.
“Jeff rode a lot of winners for me when I was in Sydney and we have been mates for a long time,” Jones said.
After 19 starts on her home track seven-year-old mare Zero Cash meanwhile has finally won a race at Muswellbrook with Greg Ryan turning in a faultless ride to win the Magic Millions Yearling Sale Now On Benchmark 60 (1000m) on Thursday.
Trainer Pat Farrell backed up the mare after her eighth at Warwick Farm last Saturday, a fact not lost on Ryan.
“That is a great effort for a mare to travel down to Sydney and race in the heat, come home and back up five days later on another hot day and win,” he said.
“Not many mares could do that and Pat has done a great job to back her up.
“She is racing better now than at any other time of her career and this was a race that really suited her.
“She has thickened up and strengthened up.”
Connections of Zero Cash had all but given up hope of the mare ever winning on her home track although she had been placed on it three times.
“That is her eighth win for us but to see her finally win here at Muswellbrook makes it a bit special,” part-owner and Muswellbrook Race Club vice-chairman Keith Googe said.
“That was a great ride from Greg, he is by far the best jockey in this area.”