Jonny Cox, now training sole charge at Premier Stables. Photo: Wild Range Photography.
Jonny Cox will be going it alone from Tim Butt’s Premier Stables in the new season after the decision to dissolve their six-month training partnership.
Cox took over the team in December while Butt was establishing himself at Menangle in New South Wales and that process has well and truly been achieved.
It was capped by Field Marshal’s stunning performance to win the Miracle Mile in a record 1.46.9 at Menangle in February, while Let It Ride has been another top performer for Butt and finished second in the G1 Chariots Of Fire the same month.
On Sunday at Menangle, Field Marshal will attempt back-to-back victories in the G1 Len Smith Mile while a race later, Let It Ride will tackle the G1 Breeders Challenge for four-year-old male horses.
There are seven Group One races on the card with six of them finals of the local Sires Stakes competition.
Earlier in the day, The Bachelor will be looking to further a good record at Menangle for Butt and breeder-owner Syd Brown.
The close relation to Field Marshal has raced 12 times in New South Wales for five wins and six placings after a win at Addington early last season.
Butt’s base at West Melton these days effectively serves as a ‘feeder club’ to his set up near Menangle and the more lucrative opportunities which exist in the state.
“I wouldn’t say the last six months has been a trial period – more a transitional phase while Tim got himself properly set up,” said Cox.
“He’s done that now and there’s no need for him to be spending so much time back here in Canterbury.”
Before taking over at Premier Stables, Cox spent a little over a year working the mornings at the All Stars Stable while doing his own team in the afternoon.
Cox will continue to be assisted at the West Melton stable by Tim's neice, his partner Kim, along with long time stable employee Mike Palermo and stablehand Jordan Simpson, who has just gained his ticket to drive at trials.
Bushido and Denstown have been the flag-bearers for the stable so far this year and Cox expects them to make good progress in the new season.
“Bushido is just about ready to go again while Denstown resumes work on Monday after a six-week spell,” said Cox.
In the meantime, this weekend, Cox lines up progressive trotter Louis Moss at Washdyke on Sunday off a lengthy spell.
He hasn’t raced since February last year, although there has been nothing wrong with the five-year-old Repeat Love gelding who was purchased from Carl Middleton’s dispersal sale.
“He’s a big, lanky bugger who has just been weak and needed time to strengthen up.
“Tim did a bit with him last year but decided he still needed more time so out he went again.
“He’s had two nice trials and while I expect him to be very competitive on Sunday, he’s still probably six months away from being seen at his best.
“He has the makings of good stayer and the harder they go the better he’ll like it.
“Sit-sprint trials aren’t really his go and he likes to be bowling along at a nice strong even tempo.”
Kim Butt takes the drive on Louis Moss while Cox handles stablemate Deauville in the maiden trot.
The latter is a well-bred Love You gelding who resumed at the Marlborough meeting last weekend after being off the scene for no less than two and a half years.
“He was very much on trial up there and if he’d galloped both days he could easily have been down the road, but he pleased us on the second day and got a reprieve.
“He’s another one that has needed time but hopefully he’s starting to get his act together now.”
Cox has a team of about two dozen for the new season and points to a couple of the half dozen two-year-olds, they qualified this year as promising sorts for spring racing.
Rocknroll King is a gelding by A Rocknroll Dance who finished second on debut at this month’s Nelson meeting, while Diego finished fourth on debut at Washdyke in April before getting time to develop.
Diego is a Bettor’s Delight brother to Bushido and a half-brother to The Bachelor.