Scone trainer ‘Hits The Target’ in Parkes Cup

Hit The Target, pictured here winning at Rosehill, was a little too classy for his rivals when taking out the 2021 Parkes Cup on Sunday. Photo: Steve Hart.

Sunday’s Parkes Jockey Club meeting was always in the sights of Scone trainer, Stephen Jones, who was rewarded for his foresight when Hit The Target won the $32,000 Parkes Cup. 

The Uncle Mo gelding was a class above his rivals in the 1600m Parkes Services Club sponsored event, leading from pillar to post, and romping in by 1.72 lengths from She’s All In, while Lolita Gold was a further 1.5 lengths away in third. 

Hit The Target was the 62kg top weight in the race, and Jones said he was always confident of taking out the event. 

“I thought he would outclass them,” Jones said. 

“He is a horse that when he puts his best forward, he is hard to beat, and he is going well.”

The Scone runner, who travelled five hours each way to race at Parkes, was a drifter in the markets, paying more than $7 on the NSW tote.

“It is about four and a half or five hours to get there, and he might have drifted because of the travel and the weight, but I thought he was better than them, and he proved it,” Jones said.

“They did the same in the Soldiers Saddle at Bathurst and he won that.”

The 62kg didn’t seem to be a worry for the six-year-old, who was ridden a treat by Matthew Palmer – the travelling jockey having developed a strong affinity with Hit The Target and the Jones stable.

“He handled the weight and Matthew did a great job,” Jones said. 

“He is a great rider; he is riding enormous for some of the top trainers in Sydney and he is an asset to have here. He rides work for us every morning, and I talked him into coming down and the success is showing.”

Hit The Target continues the good form of the Jones stable, who aren’t afraid to take on Country Cup events.

“We will go anywhere if we think we can win, and these country cups are nice to win these days,” Jones said. 

“We just try and find the right races for our horses.”

Jones praised the Parkes Jockey Club for hosting a meeting on a track that held up to a big eight-race-program and some of the strongest fields in recent times.

“Our stable foreman went, and Tracey (Rodger) said the track was good,” Jones said. 

“It probably did suit front runners at the touch, and she rang me, and we planned our race pattern.

“We thought we would be right there or lead, and he got an easy lead and that was the end of it.”

In a massive day of racing for the Parkes Jockey Club, Shecago won the 1400m Maiden Plate for trainer Rob Potter and jockey Damon Budler, holding off Hitman and Sojo.

The second on the card was the 1600m Class Two Handicap, and Toulon Factor was too good for Dubbo trainer Kody Nestor and jockey Anthony Cavallo, beating home Choosday Nights and Fiveash. 

Wanda Ings and Chad Lever combined in the third on the card with Out Now winning the 1000m Maiden Handicap ahead of Maternal Gift and Reach For Joy. 

Damon Budler rode his second winner of the meeting in the fourth race, booting home Nobody’s Puppet to victory in the 1000m Benchmark for Canberra trainer, Nick Olive – the six-year-old beating home Byzantium and Revolver.

Matthew Palmer also made it a brace of wins at Parkes, riding home A Fortunate Lass for Mark Schmetzer in the 1200m Class Two Handicap. 

Leo Harland and Clayton Gallagher combined in the sixth event, the 1200m Satellite Handicap, with Patrick May winning the $27,000 event ahead of Worldly Pleasure and Demonstrate.

In the final race on the program, Damon Budler secured his hat-trick of winners, and helped Rob Potter to his second winner with Kirkton emerging victorious in the 1300m Benchmark 58 Handicap ahead of Delivered and Sly Song.

While the Parkes Cup meeting is over for 2021, the Parkes Picnic Club is now gearing up for their June Long weekend meeting on June 12.