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Lismore-Nov27th

Gold Coast trainer Stephen Jones' long association with high-profile owner Gerry Harvey looks set to notch up yet another winner when in-form mare Crooked Stick tackles Sunday's The Bowlo Evans Head Cup (1516m) at Lismore.

Lismore-Nov27th

Gold Coast trainer Stephen Jones' long association with high-profile owner Gerry Harvey looks set to notch up yet another winner when in-form mare Crooked Stick tackles Sunday's The Bowlo Evans Head Cup (1516m) at Lismore.

Crooked Stick, formerly trained at Randwick by Pat Webster, has had an outstanding strike rate since Harvey sent her north to Jones last year. She has won six of her 20 starts for Jones and been runner-up another five times.

She has been particularly effective in the last few months, winning three of her past six starts, including the Casino Cup (1400m) on August 13 and back-to-back Gold Coast wins on September 17 and October 8.


Jones has trained horses for Harvey, the retail billionaire with extensive racing interests throughout Australia, for more than three decades.

"I've trained horses for Gerry for 35 years, from day one of my training career," Jones said. "Gerry has often sent horses north for me to train and we've had a lot of winners over the years. Sundial, a good sprinter we had a few years back, was probably one of the best Gerry sent up to me."

Sundial was a brilliant short-course sprinter who won 10 races during his career and set a new track record when he posted a sizzling 56.40 over the Eagle Farm 1000m under 58.5kg in 2001.

Harvey sent Conatus mare Crooked Stick to Queensland after she lost form in the autum and winter of 2015 and she has certainly thrived in the Sunshine State.

"She'd had been having back problems and also had a few barrier issues, which we've sorted out," Jones said. "And she probably wasn't quite up to Sydney class but has thrived up here with the sun on her back."

Since having her first run for Jones on July 29, 2015 Crooked Stick has won five races at the Gold Coast as well as this year's Casino Cup. Her only real blemish in recent starts came last Saturday when she finished 13 of 16 behind Top Tone over 1600m at Eagle Farm.

"She's been absolutelly flying lately with three wins and two seconds from her past six starts," Jones said. "And last week at Eagle Farm was a forgive run as she was trapped wide without cover the entire race.

"Sunday's race at Lismore looks an ideal race for her and she should be very hard to beat."

Apprentice Brooke Ainsworth will partner Crooked Stick on Sunday despite not being able to claim an allowance at Lismore.

"Brooke's been doing a lot of riding for me and I'm happy to give her the opportunity at Lismoe even though she can't claim," Jones said.

Crooked Stick is one of five runners Jones has at the seven-race Lismore meeting. He scratched both Red Wayne and Manhattan Justice from Friday's Ipswich meeting to be saved for Lismore and he also has Hussonplaza and Sportstar Samuel down to run on Sunday. Matthew McGuren will ride Red Wayne while Ainsworth partners the other four.

"I'd rate Crooked Stick my best hope but the others should race pretty well too, particulary Manhattan Justice and Sportstar Samuel, who have both been racing well," Jones said. "Hopefully, we have a pretty decent day on Sunday."

Manhattan Justice has won two of his past four starts at the Gold Coast while Sportstar Samuel was a last-start Maiden winner at Ipswich on November 18.

The rail will be in the true position at Lismore on Sunday and the track is currently rated a good 4.

Racing And Sports



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