Jones scores double, earns Menangle berth

Coleambally reinsman Blake Jones enjoyed his best night since returning to harness racing at Wagga on Friday night.

CLOSE CALL: Our Pepperjack runs past Gotta Bewitched to win a Menangle Country Series race at Wagga on Friday. Picture: Kieren L Tilly

CLOSE CALL: Our Pepperjack runs past Gotta Bewitched to win a Menangle Country Series race at Wagga on Friday. Picture: Kieren L Tilly

Jones piloted Our Pepperjack and Shifty Shivas to victories as he looks to re-establish himself in the sport.

They were his second and third wins since returning from a two-year disqualification after presenting a horse to race not free of a prohibited substance. 

The 27-year-old is hoping the double will spark a few more wins.

“Hopefully they keep on flowing,” Jones said.

Driving Our Pepperjack for girlfriend Ellen Bartley, the pair booked a place in the $26,000 final after winning a Menangle Country Series heat.

Sitting just off the hot tempo set by Blackbird trainePower ($2.20 fav), Our Pepperjack ($3.50) was able to clear running and ran past Gotta Bewitched ($3.80) to win by a neck.

Jones thought the raced panned out well.

“If you get a nice suck along like he did he is always going to finish off and on his day get the win,” Jones said.

“He is pretty honest, no superstar but always thereabouts.

It was the former New Zealander’s first win since May, but Jones had been pleased with his two previous starts for the stable.

“All three of his runs have been pretty good,” Jones said.

“First start he got back a fair bit in one of those Menangle heats and ran home well for fourth.”

He is expected to have one more run before the final on August 30, most likely at Young’s meeting on Friday.

Jones then led all the way on Shifty Shivas for Alfredtown trainer Jake Stockton.

The gelding was only have his second start for the new stable and was able to dictate terms.

He went on to win the Riverina Security Solutions Football Premiers Cup (2165m) by 2.9 metres.

“Jake was pretty confident when he rang me to drive him and when Hillier’s horse was scratched I was pretty confident,” Jones said.

“He just had to do everything right as if he led he would be pretty hard to get around.”

Verdot took out the second of the Country Series heats for Goulbrun trainer0-driver Scott Hewit.

Young trainer Peter Schiller also scored a winning double after taking out both of the J C Caffyn Indigenous Drivers races.

Regal Ashes made it two wins in a row when she caused a massive boilover in the first of the races.

Group One winner Northern Velocity was sent out a $1.40 favourite but couldn’t cross Regal Ashes at the start and faded after racing without cover.

Schiller then scored with Arrived In Time.

It was a memorable victory Camden-based driver for Jack Wade, who brought up his career win in the race.

Jack Wade after his first career win.

Jack Wade after his first career win.