And Oh The Relief

And Oh The Relief!

Bruce Stewart

2nd May 2021

The relief was there for all to see at Ascot Park today when star three year old Ragazzo Mach returned to winning form, taking out the Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes for Branxholme trainer driver Nathan Williamson.

“There was a lot of pressure with that horse. He was sold for a big figure and I’m so rapt for the owners (Swandoo Harness Racing Pty Limited Syndicate). They’re just great people and put a lot into the game and I wish them all the best with the horse once he gets to WA (West Australia),” Williamson said after the five and a half length win and a flourish of the whip at the end of the race.

Ragazzo Mach warming up in the Alabar colours

It was also the first time the Southland trainer has won the three year old feature. He finished second in last season’s edition with Pembrook Playboy who was beaten by Burnham Boy, and in 2015 Tas Man Bromac trained by Williamson was beaten by a nose by I’m Full Of  Excuses.

“It’s been my bogey race. Franco Santino ran third one year. I’ve just had awful draws and terrible runs.”

Talking of luck, Ragazzo Mach had very little of it in the two Addington races   among the elite three year olds prior to today’s race at home, and Williamson was keen to put both the Flying Stakes and Derby behind him.

“I think he was going through a bit of a growth spurt. On reflection he probably wasn’t at his best although he seemed great.”

In today’s $40,000 feature Yorokobi was taken to the front from the gate with Ragazzo Mach settling fifth on the outside.

“We stayed out of that early burn until they sorted themselves out.”

With 1600 metres to run Williamson took Ragazzo Mach forward three wide to take the lead.

“I worked him into it and he was back to his best today.”

At the 400 metres Williamson let the colt run and he quickly opened up the field with just Yorokobi staying in touch. But with 100 metres to run Williamson slapped the reins and he shot clear to win easily in 3-17.7 smashing the race track and Southland record of 3-19.1 held jointly by Highview Tommy and Eamon Maguire. Third placegetter Idealism came in eight and a half lengths behind.

Williamson saluting the crowd after Ragazzo Mach’s win in the Supremacy

“He’s such a great horse running a track record and (he) finished the race off in 26 (26.9 seconds).  He’s a great stayer. It’s just a shame we didn’t draw well in the Derby.”

Winning connections, sponsors and club officicals

The winning stake today elevated Ragazzo Mach to fifth in next month’s Three Year Old Emerald at Cambridge.

“He may race at Winton in a fortnight. We’ll just try and plan it so we’re right on Jewels day.”