11th June 2021
At Forbury Park last night, Southland driver Nathan Williamson notched up another significant milestone in winning his 900th race in New Zealand whilst driving Jasmine Jaccka for good friend Brett Gray.
The four year old mare lead all the way and won by a length. In the following race Williamson drove Ah Mach (whom he also trains) to win her first race. The win was his seventy third driving win for the season.
“She trotted good all the way and was too good,” he said about Jasmine Jaccka.
When I spoke to him last night he was at Wendy’s having some chicken strips before heading home to Southland.
“I was aware I was close so it’s good to get it done.”
It’s been a stellar season for Williamson. He’s currently in the top six in the National Drivers and Trainers Premiership, as a trainer he’s had his largest stakes earning season ($764,075), and in the National Trainers Premiership (on the UDR rating – 40+ winners or more) he’s currently third behind Hayden Cullen, and Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen.
He also trained his first $100,000 plus stake earner (in one season) in Pembrook Playboy who was the province’s leading stake earner.
Williamson was quick to label winning the Southern Supremacy Stakes (Ragazzo Mach) and the Invercargill Cup (Pembrook Playboy) as his most satisfying wins for the season.
“To win them both was great but the Southern Supremacy stands out because I’ve been beaten in the race by some short margins. To win was a huge relief and the way the horse did it showed he was one of the best three year olds in the country.”
Ragazzo Mach winning the 2021 Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes
Pembrook Playboy winning the Invercargill Cup
Williamson has recently returned home after being in Auckland supervising his three runners at last weekend’s Harness Jewels.
Ragazzo Mach was his highest achiever at the Jewels, finishing fourth in the Three Year Old Emerald after sitting parked for the last lap.
“He went a huge race. I’m pretty sure if he’d drawn where the winner or the trailer had drawn he would have definitely won. We were just unlucky to have sat outside the leader.”
In his Jewels assignment, Kiwitrix galloped on the last bend and finished last while Pembrook Playboy ran eighth in the Four Year Old Emerald.
Williamson said that while Pembrook Playboy’s run was good, Kiwitrix unfortunately got checked.
“He (Pembrook Playboy) didn’t really have a race at all. I think his last half was the quickest of the race. He’s bounced back really well. I’ve left both of them in Auckland for the Un-cut Gems.”
Williamson also drove You’re So Fine for Gray in the Two Year Old Emerald. Although he was ten lengths away from the impressive winner Akuta, he was less that a length away from the second, third and fourth horses.
“It was a big run. We were just unfortunate. We were in the middle of the pack and had to go three wide because if you sit you get flushed back to last. He got left without cover. He was only having his third start and he was probably too green to sit parked at that sort of speed.”
You’re So Fine
Ragazzo Mach left for Perth on Wednesday where he’ll race out of Mike Reed’s stables.
“I stayed in the north and put him and You’re So Fine on the float on Tuesday night at 9-30.”
He believes they will do a good job in Australia.
“They’re both quality horses that are going to great trainers.” You’re So Fine will be trained by Gary Hall senior.
His other drive at the Jewels was on the Southland trained Pearl Harbour which ran fifth in the Four Year Old Diamond.
Williamson says Pembrook Playboy will be spelled when he returns home.
“He won’t be able to have too long off – about a month and come back for the Hannon.”
On a personal level Williamson says there won’t be time for him and the family to have a break.
“We’re pretty busy doing a lot of young ones. As you know I like bringing the young ones through and keeping the quality high so we’ll be putting them through their paces in the next few months.”
One young horse that has impressed him is a colt by What The Hill out of Miss Pegasus.
“I bought him at the Sales. He’s a lovely horse that broke in nice. The ownership is made up of a big group.”
Williamson says he’s excited about the changes that will bring New Zealand and Australian horses’ birthdates into alignment, providing an opportunity to re-jig the new season’s racing programme.
Nathan’s 900 winners – fact sheet
First winner: Brooker 18th August 2005 at Forbury Park.
100th winner: Waihemo Cullen – Cromwell 7/01/2008
500th winner: Splash Cola -Invercargill 24/01/2015
700th winner: Picketts Ridge -Gore 10/02/2018
800th winner: Allaboutjoy -Wairio 21/12/2019)
900th winner: Jasmine Jaccka – Forbury Park 10/06/2021
Trainers for whom he’s driven winners: Own (248), Phil Williamson (96), Brent Shirley (57), Katrina, Roger and John Price (44) and Brett Gray (28).
Pacing winners: 566
Trotting winners: 334
Biggest winner: Springbank Richard 63-20-7-4.
Australian winners: (3)
Best seasons (winners and stakes): 2016 591-100-74-59 $719,327 UDR .2720
Most driving wins in one day: Four – 11 times.
- Northern Southland TC 26/09/2014: Fantasy Dream Girl, Sonova Gun, Onedin Mach and Costa Del Magnifico,
- Invercargill HRC 5/12/2014: I Smart, Degas, Dwindle Mist and Costa Del Magnifico
- Riverton TC 1/11/2015: Jen Jaccka, Tas Man Bromac, Machrie and Grey Power
- Invercargill HRC 15/03/2015: Sheeza Shark, Ode To Success, Zac Mac and Lola Jaccka
- Invercargill HRC 24/01/2015: Poppymalda, Cool Changes, Tas Man Bromac and Splash Cola
- Forbury Park TC 16/06/2016: Cullens Lady, Culler Coded, Hurricane Banner and Spur Wing
- Gore HRC 24/04/2016: Fiddlethefool, The Jinja Ninja, Sun’s Invasion and One Cool Chick
- Invercargill HRC 22/11/2015: Zen Warrior, Grey Power, Black Athena and Pavarotti
- Gore HRC 13/10/2018: Wayward Roc, Stay Aboard, Delightful Deal and Please Shuddup
- Riverton TC 20/10/2019: Tairlaw Toll, Tweedledee, Pembrook Playboy and Rockabilly Blues
- Invercargill HRC 8/05/2021: Port Pegasus, Ideal BB. Tulsa Jaccka and Sand Wave
Listed winners (6):
- 2006 Ordeal Trotting Cup (Jasmyn’s Gift)
- 2007 Three Year Old Ruby (Springbank Richard)
- 2008 4 year old Ruby (Springbank Richard)
- 2009 Ordeal Trotting Cup (Springbank Richard)
- 2017 PGG Wrightson Uncut Gems Trotters Classic (Dark Horse)
- 2019 PGG Wrightson New Zealand Yearling Sale Trotting Final (Ultimate Stride)
Group Three (12):
- 2008 4 year old Trotters Championship (Springbank Richard)
- 2009 DG Jones Trotting Cup (Springbank Richard)
- 2009 Ashburton Trotters Flying Mile (Springbank Richard)
- 2010 DG Jones Trotting Cup (Springbank Richard)
- 2011 4 year old Trotters Championship (Larix)
- 2012 Interdominion Heat – Shepparton (Springbank Richard)
- 2013 Trotters Championship (Phil’s Gift)
- 2021 Central Otago Cup (Pembrook Playboy)
- 2021 Invercargill Cup (Pembrook Playboy)
- 2021 Summer Cup Addington (Pembrook Playboy)
- 2021 Caduceus Club of Southland Alabar Fillies Classic (Nutcracker)
- 2021 Northern Southland Cup (Pembrook Playboy)
Group Two (2):
- 2021 Diamond Creek Farm Two Year Old Classic (You’re So Fine)
- 2021 Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes (Ragazzo Mach)
Group One (3)
- 2006 NZ Trotting FFA (Jasmyn’s Gift)
- 2007 HRI Victoria Trotters Derby (Springbank Richard)
- 2009 Dominion Handicap (Springbank Richard)
Harness Jewels winners:
- 2007 Three Year Old Ruby – Springbank Richard
- 2008 Four Year Old Ruby – Springbank Richard
Southland Junior Drivers premiership (2): 2009 and 2010
Southland Driver premierships (13): 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021. (NB: Henry Skinner holds the record with 16)
Invercargill HRC Drivers Championship – Individual (1): 2018