August 2020

Spotlight The Valley’s Win Special For Wilson

Bruce Stewart

7th August 2020

Spotlight The Valley’s win at Ascot Park yesterday was special for her trainer and part owner Robert Wilson of Balfour.

“She’s just been going through the motions lately and I always knew there was another win there. It was her ninth win which is pretty awesome really,” Wilson said.

Spotlight The Valley, Blair Orange and Robert Wilson-Photo Bruce Stewart

The Skyvalley mare got the perfect trip behind pacemaker Davey Mac and came up the inside passing lane to beat that horse by a length and a quarter.

She was 10/10 in the betting paying $36 to win despite running third at her last start.

Spotlight The Valley beating Davey Mac – Photo Bruce Stewart

Winning salute – Photo Bruce Stewart

Spotlight The Valley started her career with Billy Head but Wilson took over her training shortly after.

She’s won nine races, run second 17 times and third 14 times, earning The Sunbeam Syndicate which owns her $89,322.

“She’s just so honest. A lovely horse. The syndicate have had three pay outs over a long time so she’s been a great syndicate horse. The group are spread around – Timaru to Roxburgh.”

Wilson says a trip to the breeding barn is now on the cards for Spotlight The Valley.

“We’ve been talking about it so that’s half pie the plan, so we’ll probably get her in foal. There’ll always be a home at my place for her.”

Spotlight The Valley was bred by Kevin Schuck who also owned an unqualified filly out of the mare by Muscle Mass and a two year old Sundon colt which is at Nathan Williamson’s.

The mare has also left qualified Angus Hall gelding Danangus Fella which is trained at Kurow by Petra Luzumova.

Wilson and his wife Eleanor owned Soky’s Atom gelding Atomwise in the late 1990s. He won five of his eight starts in New Zealand for Southland trainer Alan Devery and won another nine races from fifteen starts in Australia.

Tom Martin Wins Last

Bruce Stewart

7th August 2020

Canterbury horseman Paul Court made his last trip south for a while yesterday and was rewarded when Tom Martin trained by his father, won.

“I picked him out at the sales. He’s owned by a syndicate who’ve had a bit of fun with him which is good,” Paul said.

The Mach Three entire was taken straight to the front by driver Blair Orange and he won easily by two and quarter lengths from Rocknroll King.

“He’s a big bugger and time is going to be his friend. He’s a big staying type.”

Tom Martin winning for Blair Orange – Photo Bruce Stewart

Court leaves Canterbury next week and heads to Canada with his wife Chantelle and their children and he’s looking forward to the change.

“Very much so. Can’t wait. It’s a shame to say goodbye to all my mates but I’ll be back at some stage for a holiday.”

Court has been training in his own right from 2008 until last season and geared up 141 winners of which Orange drove 104.

“The highlight of my career was training (with his father Graham) Terror To Love and getting to work with this man here. (Referring to Blair Orange). He’s a good mate so it’s good getting successes with Styx.”

Court’s best winner was Hail Christian but he trained other good horses in Cast No Shadow, Mongolian Hero, Malik, Stun Gun, Stick Man, Mongolian Cavalry and RR Sand Dollar.

Paul trained with his father between 2009 and 2015 winning 98 races including the 2011, 2012 and 2013 New Zealand Cup with Terror To Love.

Tom Martin was bred by Julie Davie, Peter Cummings and the late Father Dan Cummings of Tuapeka Lodge and is out of the Life Sign mare Raindowne.

Raindowne was bought by John and Judy Stiven of Arden Lodge in 2016 and they’ve bred a Bettor Delight filly out of the mare which has just turned three, a Captaintreacherous filly which is two and they have a yearling colt by the same sire.

Southland Cup Horses At Workouts Today

Bruce Stewart

7th August 2020

Southland New Zealand Cup hopefuls Franco Santino and Vintage Cheddar were at the Winton Workouts today but were out staged by Lawrence – albeit by a small margin.

Winton Workout winner Ragazzo Mach – Photo Bruce Stewart

Lawrence won the FFA heat by a nose with Franco Santino dead heating with Vintage Cheddar for second.

The heat was run in 3-02.3 with the last 800 metres cut out in 55.9.

Lawrence in the middle beating dead heaters Kilowatt Kid (inside) and Franco Santino (outside) – Photo Bruce Stewart.

Three year old Mach Three colt Ragazzo Mach trained by Nathan Williamson looked promising when he won his mobile heat in 3-06.0 beating another promising type in Alexis Rocket by three quarters of a length.

Ragazzo Mach winning his workout heat – Photo Bruce Stewart

He’s a half-brother to RR Sand Dollar (7 wins) and Cast No Shadow (8 wins).

Tulsa Jaccka trained by Wayne Adams looked ready to resume, winning her heat by a length from Man I’m Good.

Tulsa Jaccka winning at the Winton Workouts – Photo Bruce Stewart

The Red Robber’s Last Job

Bruce Stewart

13th August 2020.

It’s very likely Ascot Park winner The Red Robber has run his last race for Gore trainer Tony Stratford.

“That will probably be it for him now. He’ll probably be retired. We’ll go home and sleep on the win. He’s done a good job but he is limited and I can’t see him going round and round for the hell of it. He’s honest, he tries and I wish I had a barn full of horses like that,” Stratford said.

Driver Blair Orange took the seven year old straight to the top and he hung on tenaciously to beat Ripsnorter by a neck.

The Red Robber returning for Blair Orange – Photo Bruce Stewart

Stratford says the Cleland Racing Syndicate which shares in the ownership of The Red Robber has a new recruit in the barn ready to replace the gelding. Beauty Barry is a four year old who’s had one start for Gavin Smith and has been moved south.

“He’s quite nice and I quite like him. We’ll look at lining him up at Winton.”

The Red Robber was made favourite in today’s race after running an unlucky sixth last week.

“He went really well last week and we were pretty confident with him drawing one today.”

The Panspacificflight gelding has now won three races and finished either second or third ten times.

Stratford has a good bunch of three year olds in the barn that have performed well over the winter.

“Sweet Lizzie will line up next week, Braeview Kelly is a couple of weeks away from kicking off again and Major Punter is still out. We’ll certainly head up the road with Braeview Kelly as she’s paid up for the Sires Stakes and the Sales Series.”

Stratford said Altimeter and Ideal Draw have been  sold recently.

“They left this morning for Aussie. It’s a shame to lose those types of horses but it makes way for some young stuff.”

Meanwhile In Sequence trained by Amber Hoffman and driven by stable driver Mark Hurrell beat stablemate Kiwi Crusher by a head.

In Sequence (6) getting up to win for Mark Hurrell – Photo Bruce Stewart

It was the six year old mare’s first start for the Hoffman barn having previously been trained by Ken Barron.

Fleetmaster a recent recruit to the Clark Barron stable, also won in the hands of Samantha Ottley. The Changeover gelding was previously trained by Mark Jones who brought the horse south and left him with Barron.

Fleetmaster (2) beating Greenback Boogie – Photo Bruce Stewart

Playboy Back In The Mansion

Bruce Stewart

13th August 2020

After disappointing at his last start, Gore trained Robyns Playboy was back on his game at Ascot Park today.

Driver Craig Ferguson took the five year old straight to the front and he peeled off a last 800 metres in 55.1 to win by eight and three quarter lengths.

“He just loved it in front and Craig said that he just wanted to go at the 800 and he didn’t even pull the plugs at the end. It’s the first time he’s won being hot favourite,” said Ross Wilson who trains the gelding in partnership with son Chris.

Robyns Playboy under a nice hold with a lap to run – Photo Bruce Stewart

Still under a hold at the finish – Photo Bruce Stewart

The win cements the gelding’s place in the first race of the New Zealand Cup build up – the Hannon Memorial at Oamaru on the 20th of September.  But despite the easy win today Wilson is under no illusion as to how difficult it will be to win the early season feature.

“It’s a different story when you get up amongst those Purdon horses. We went up to the Hannon last year thinking we were going alright and they ran home in 53 and we got beaten by ten lengths. But last year he wasn’t 100% health wise and this year he is and that’s going to make a big difference I think.”

Wilson says Robyns Playboy will be given an easy time over the next few weeks and he says he’ll probably have one more start before the Hannon.

“He’s a very athletic horse who doesn’t take a lot of work. He’s only had two hopple runs since he last raced. He’s a great winded horse and that’s good because you can be easy on him and you don’t have to knock him around the same to get there.”

Life’s A Beach

Bruce Stewart

20th August 2020

The marvellous run of Otago’s latest training partnership, that of Graeme Anderson and Mike Love, rolled on at the Central Southland Raceway today.

Anderson and Love who train at Westwood Beach, has only been in action since the beginning of the new season. From just eight runners they’ve produced four winners and there looks to be more in store for the pair and their stable driver Matty Williamson.

Who’s Smokin warming up – Photo Bruce Stewart

Who’s Smokin got the wheels spinning in Race Seven today by blasting the mobile arm from gate eight to take up the running. From there Williamson controlled the tempo and after being passed by Foregone Conclusion half way down the straight, she came back to win by a head.

“Very good run from her. She’s a big dumb filly who’s just starting to work things out. She’s got great gate speed and she travelled really nicely today. Coxies one (Foregone Conclusion) put half a length on her but she fought back and won it. There’s enough ability there,” said Williamson after the run.

Who’s Smokin with a lap to run – Photo Bruce Stewart

Who’s Smokin (8) driven out at the finish to win -Photo Bruce Stewart

Returning to the birdcage – Photo Bruce Stewart

Who’s Smokin is out of the Falcon Seelster mare Who’s The Bird which won two races for Kevin Court. Her best foal Smokin Bird won ten races including the 2015 Group Two Southland Oaks. Another one of the mare’s foals High Courage won eighteen races in Australia before being exported to America.

In the next race the Anderson/Love colours struck again when Tres Chic took the next step and won her second race in seven days.

Horses often find it hard to win their second race as they’re pitted against harder one and two win horses. But not Tres Chic.

“Being up a grade, it was a hell of a good effort to stick on the way she did,” Williamson said.

Williamson pushed the Mach Three mare through from the outside of the second row and ended up following favourite Tulsa Jaccka through in the outside running line. But Tres Chic was carted three wide before reaching the lead with a lap to run.

“Even though we were following them out she had to do her fair share of work in that first bit.”

The challenges came like a cavalry charge as the field straightened with some runners coming six wide but Tres Chic showed a good level of toughness to outstay them all, winning by three quarters of a length from Tulsa Jaccka.

Tres Chic winning her second race at Winton – Photo Bruce Stewart

Win number two for Anderson/Love/Williamson – Photo Bruce Stewart

Tres Chic is owned locally by Stewie Gillan in partnership with Anderson, and has continuing improvement has impressed Williamson.

“She looked quite good at the trials before her first start but had a few minor gear changes. She got her head down and went a bit rough in those first starts. They’ve put an over check on her and that seems to be the key. She’s just got better and better. Mike thinks she’ll turn into a nice stayer and she’s got a good turn of foot to go with it too.”

Meanwhile the stable’s tightest assessed horse Spirit Of St Louis will head to Addington for the Maurice Holmes Vase on the 28th August.

 

Bond Gets A Divvy

Bruce Stewart

20th August 2020

Gore trainer Lyndon Bond was surprised at the odds placed on his trotter Tweedledee which won at Winton today.

“He was very stiff last week at Invercargill. Sam (Ottley) came back and was rapt with the way he went. I thought the Big Fish (tipster Craig ‘The Whale’ Thompson) may have spotted him. We’ve got a good divvy today at seven bucks with Get Lucky in the race. Good result,” he said.

In today’s Elite Racing Products Handicap Trot driver Samantha Ottley settled the five year old gelding three back on the inside as the field raced in single file. When King Cassidy popped out inside the last 1000 metres Tweedledee hopped onto his back. At the top of the lane, King Cassidy and Tweedledee set down to fight out the finish with the Bond trained square gaiter prevailing by three quarters of a length.

“Another year on him he’ll be a nice wee horse.”

Gore quinella – Tweedledee and King Cassidy – Photo Bruce Stewart

Tweedledee is by Superfast Stuart out of the Dr Ronarail mare Tyron’s Doctor who is from a good Southland trotting family. Tweedledee has Cilla’s Pride and Sure Mart high up on his dam side.

“Dad (Jimmy) was a good mate of Michael Heenan who told him he had a mare he was giving away for free. We put her in foal to Superfast Stuart and he’s the resulting foal. She’s back in foal to Superfast Stuart.”

Bonds other runner in todays main trot Crusher Collins was once again disappointing, finishing sixth seven lengths away from her stablemate.

“She’s not a hundred percent. She’s been in for a long time and won the Southland Trotter of the Year so she can go out for a spell.”

 

Kurow Southern Wrap

17th August 2020

Bruce Stewart

Chinese Whisper continued his march to top company when he lead and easily won at the Kurow meeting yesterday.

The Nathan Williamson trained square gaiter was brought into the unruly position late and trotted away nicely before being taken forward to lead.

Chinese Whisper – File

The son of Sundon went down to the line to win by two and half lengths from second favourite Midnight Dash.

Chinese Whisper trotted his last 800 metres in 56.6 and last 400 in 28.2. The overall time for the 2600 metres was 3-22.7.

“He took the trip all in his stride, he stood up against the outside fence and moved away. He’s had a couple of runs under his belt now. He was probably a bit fresh when he came back in….he’s got the edge off him now so he’s going pretty good,” said Williamson when assessing how far the talented trotter has come on the last two months.

It was the five year old’s fifth win from just ten starts. He was bred by Nathan Williamson who borrowed the mare Little Contessa from his mother Bev for a season. Chinese Whisper is raced by Williamson’s wife Katie and his farrier Brendon Franks.

“I had a Sundon service that I’d paid for so I borrowed the mare.”

Little Contessa has been a very good broodmare, leaving Irish Whisper (11), Heard The Whisper (7), Maori Invasion (3) and Davey Mac (3). She unfortunately died In March 2019 after leaving her last foal Tessa’s Lass, a full sister to Chinese Whisper, Irish Whisper and Heard The Whisper.

“We’re going to give him (Chinese Whisper) a couple of weeks off and let his coat come out.”

Williamson’s runner in the Kurow Cup Franco Santino was pulled out of the afternoons feature.

“He had a heart fibrillation. Hopefully it corrects itself and he’ll be as good as gold. He was gone from the word go.” Williamson said they’ll give him a couple of easy days and reassess.

Meanwhile Branxholme trainer Alister Black who trains across the road from Williamson won at Kurow with The Pres trotter Christmas Babe.

Black shares in the ownership with Art Shirley, Bruce McDonald, Kain Murdoch, Bill Carey and Charlie Steele. They bought Christmas Babe off Alan Clark as a two year old. She was born on Christmas Day 2015 and is out of the Malabar Maple mare Galleons Conspiracy.

Christmas Babe – File

Driver Brad Williamson settled Christmas Babe in the last half dozen on the outside running line. He pressed the mare forward facing the breeze for a good portion of the early part of the race. With just over a lap to run Red Harbour gave Christmas Babe cover, then with 900 metres to run Williamson elected to move out of the one one. On straightening he move up to challenge Jerry Garcia and looked confident of a win but had to drive the mare out to beat Jerry Garcia by half a neck with half a head back to Ali Lindenny.

“She was just coasting. She does that sort of thing but that’s okay. Hopefully she’s not finished (winning) yet. She’s got a wee bit stronger this season and is starting to mature a bit,” Black said.

It was the mare’s fourth win from thirty two starts.

Shirley, Carey and Steele purchased a three year old half-brother to Christmas Babe, Peak Conspiracy (Peak) off Clark who is three and is in Amber Hoffman’s barn.

Black’s runner in yesterday’s Kurow Cup Lawrence finished fourth, running home nicely to finish two and a quarter lengths from winner Italian Lad.

“He went super. They got home in 27.2 off the front and he made ground so I was pretty happy with him.”

He also started New Zealand Cup aspirant Vintage Cheddar at Addington on Friday night. Competing in the National Handicap, he finished last, nine and a half lengths from the winner Franco Niven.

“My fault. I’ll take the blame. I just think he was way too short (of a run). He’s pulled up fine.”

Tim Wins 500

Bruce Stewart

14th August 2020

It was fitting that Down To The Bone trained by Robert Dunn provided Canterbury reinsman Tim Williams with his 500th winner at Addington recently, as Dunn had provided Williams with his first winner Easy Armbro at Rangiora on the 23rd December 2007.

 

Interestingly, two days after reaching the 500 milestone, Williams had a win with Zambia who’s trained by Paul Kerr for whom Williams worked in his early career as well.

Cantabrian Tim Williams has a strong southern connection. He spent two seasons working for Ascot Park trainer Wayne Adams and he’s fashioned a good record in some of the southern circuit’s best races including the Group Three Northern Southland Cup (Henry Hubert 2020 and More The Better 2018), The Central Otago and Invercargill Cups with Funatthebeach, Southern Lights (Pres The Belle), Diamond Creek Farm Two Year Old Classic (Lazarus), Southland Trotting Oaks (Tailored Elegance) and the time honoured Kindergarten Stakes with Messini (2013-his first winner for Mark Purdon) and First Class (2020).

More The Better returning after his Northern Southland Cup Win- Photo Bruce Stewart.

Southerners have kept a close eye on Williams since he left the province. We’ve seen him develop under the tutelage of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen into an astute reinsman with a remarkable record of 53 Group or Listed races within his five hundred winners.

Williams was destined to give Harness Racing a go. His grandfather Max Williams and Robert Dunn’s father were in business together in the 1960s, owning several hotels in Wellington.

“They raced a lot of gallopers together to start with. My father (Brent) grew up with Robert and Geoff (Dunn) in the pubs,” Williams said.

One of the gallopers the partnership raced was Shantung.

She was a smart three year old winning the 1969 Great Northern St Leger Stakes over a mile and three quarters at Ellerslie and the 1969 New Zealand St Leger Stakes at Trentham. By Iconic, she was trained by Bill Winder and was ridden for both of those wins by Grenville Hughes.

Williams grew up around horses and went to the Robert Dunn stable as a young boy.

“I’d been going there for a long time. It wasn’t a hard decision to make to join the payroll. They’ve been supporters from day dot so it was quite fitting that I was wearing his colours.”

He worked for Dunn for a couple of seasons driving at the trials between 2006-2008. He then headed to Paul Kerr’s stable for a short stint.

“I was close to getting my trials license and Johnny and Robert offered me the job back. They were starting to get a big team at that stage. They said they would give me the trials drives to get my licence. I stayed there all the way through my junior licence.”

William’s first group win was Here We Go Again trained by Jamie Gameson in the 2011 Ladyship Stakes beating the Purdon/Rasmussen pair of Twist N Twirl and O Baby. He’s driven seventeen winners for Gameson with the first at Invercargill in 2008.

“Jamie was a regular supporter right from an early stage. I got a lot of drives from Jamie at a young age so he was a big help.”

Here We Go Again after winning the listed Caduceus Club of Southland/Nevele R Two Year Old Fillies Pace at Ascot Park

After working for the Dunns, Williams decided to move south in 2012 having gained his senior licence, and a little unsure as to how many drives he would get for the powerful Dunn team. So he started working for Wayne Adams at the beginning of the 2012 season, stayed there for two seasons driving thirty seven winners before the All Stars came calling.

Young Tim Williams in the Wayne Adams colours

Brindy which Williams drove to win four times in the south

Quality filly Luminesce another good winner for Williams while he was in the south with Wayne Adams.

All Stars principle Mark Purdon had seen Williams drive his two year old Messini to win in the 2013 Kindergarten Stakes and must have been impressed. He joined the All Stars team in 2014.

Tim Williams and Messini after their Kindergarten Stakes win – Photo Bruce Stewart

“Blair (Orange) left and there was a vacancy. I got a phone call out of the blue, that’s how it all started. I went from Wayne’s doing twenty horses and thought that was busy but when I went to Mark and Natalie’s they were doing fifty to sixty so it was definitely a change of pace.”

He also noticed the difference in the stock he was driving.

“They’re looking for horses for the premier grades. That’s the sort of horse they strive to train.”

His first winner for the All Stars was Meticulous at Oamaru at the starts of the 2014 season.

Also in his first season there he had the opportunity to drive a couple of the stables best horsepower in Dream About Me and Have Faith In Me.

“You couldn’t dream of a better one to start with in the first year I was there. He (Have Faith In Me) was the flag ship horse for me in that first year. Those good horses are a pleasure to drive. He knew what he was doing. It helped me. I hadn’t driven in many of those big races until I got the drive on him.”

Williams labelled Have Faith In Me win in the 2014 New Zealand Sires Stakes as special.

“It was my first Group One and being a Canterbury boy, Cup Day is the big day of the year. Everyone strives to get drives, let alone a Group One so it was pretty special.”

The winning time of 2-17.3 was a new New Zealand record erasing the previous record of 2-18.3 held for five years by Stunin Cullen.

Have Faith In Me winning the Sires Stakes – Photo Race Images

Have Faith In Me went on to be named 2014-2015 Three Year Old Colt and Gelding of the Year.

“There were times when he handled Have Faith In Me very well. I thought He made some good tactical race moves that were winning moves,” Mark Purdon said.

Have Faith In Me winning at Ashburton – Photo Race Images

Of his five hundred winners 103 have been for the All Stars who have seen him grow over the years he‘s worked for them.

“He’s been loyal to the camp and a real asset to the team. He has a very good work ethic and is a thinker. He’s got what it takes to be a good all round horseman, said Purdon. He’s taken a step up from when he left Invercargill by handling some better horses and getting more confidence.”

Lazarus and Williams winning the Diamond Creek Farm Two Year Old Classic -Photo Bruce Stewart.

Like all reinsmen Williams would love to win the New Zealand Cup on his home track at Addington. He’s driven in the great race five times with the best results being Dream About Me which finished third in 2014 and he’s also recorded two fourths with Smolda (2016) and Chase Auckland (2019).

“We enjoy him been part of the team. He’s an integral part of the All Stars operation,” Purdon said.

Williams has also tasted success in Australia winning the 2016 $150,000 Group One Nevele R Stud Victoria Oaks, driving Piccadilly Princess.

“That was pretty cool. To do it over there was another challenge. It was nice to get the job done for them.”

Amongst his records there have been a couple of group purple patches.

In March 2015 he won the Group One Great Northern Derby with Have Faith In Me, Group Two Delightful Lady Classic with Dream About Me, Group Two Vero Flying Stakes with Have Faith In Me and the Group One New Zealand Derby with Have Faith In Me.

In May 2015 he won two races on Jewels Day at Ashburton with Have Faith In Me and Dream About Me.

“If you can turn up on those sorts of days with those sorts of drives it makes life a little bit easier.”

October 2014 provided another highlight for Williams when he drove six winners at the Wairio Meeting; Ode To Success, Rockahula Arden, Fly Like An Eagle, Margarita, Oneover and Dark Dana. His only other drive finished third.

Fly Like An Eagle after his win at Wairio – One of six for Williams – Photo Bruce Stewart

He also won three of the four feature races at the Northern Southland Trotting Club meeting in March 2020. He won with Tailored Elegance in the Southland Trotting Oaks, Henry Hubert in the Northern Southland Cup and Pres The Belle in the Group Three Southern Lights.

Tailored Elegance winning the Southland Trotting Oaks

Henry Hubert the Northern Southland Cup

Pres The Belle warming up before winning the Southern Lights – Photo Bruce Stewart

And over the years he’s taken his opportunities and driven some on the blue army’s best. Horses like Cash N Flow, Ashley Locaz, Funatthebeach and Another Masterpiece.

“Whether it’s been through suspension, someone being overseas or on holiday I’ve pretty much driven all the big bangers at some point.”

Funatthebeach after his Invercargill Cup win – Photo Bruce Stewart

And he’s really appreciated the quality of advice Purdon and Rasmussen have passed his way.

“They’re such great drivers themselves. I’m never shy about asking them for their opinion. In those big races you want to be pulling the right rein at the right time.”

He’s also driven Chase Auckland to win the Group One New Zealand Pacing FFA and won on the gelding in the Methven and New Brighton Cups.

As you’d expect there’s plenty of quality young stock in the current All Stars racing team and Williams says Rock Legend could be one to watch out for.

“I haven’t driven him too much but what I felt at Invercargill when he won was that he could be one to follow. I think he should get better and better. I think when it comes to the Derbys he’ll be suited to the 2600 metres.”

Williams and partner Aimee Edmonds have a two year old son named Max and are expecting their second child in December (also a boy).

The couple live at Rolleston just over the road from the All Stars stable.

So what does the future hold for this talented thirty one year old. Training?

“Potentially one day if the time was right but at the moment the emphasis is on the driving.”

Tim Williams Fact Sheet:

  • First winner: Easy Armbro for RJ Dunn Rangiora 23rd December 2007.
  • Finished third in the 2019 New Zealand Drivers Premiership with 90 wins behind Blair Orange (218) and John Dunn (107).
  • Junior 2009-2012 (112 wins)
  • Group One wins: 15
  • Group Two wins: 12
  • Group Three wins: 19
  • Listed: 7

First Class winning this last seasons Kindergarten Stakes

He’s driven four winners in a day three times.

  • Ashburton June 2019: Oscar Bonavena, The Moonshadow, Self Assured and Vulcan Star.
  • Addington October 2018: Flying Milly Mac, Harriot Of Mot, Dream About Me and Muscles Galore.
  • Wairio December 2013: Iron Duke, Jaccka Looney, Luminesce and Bettor Buy It.

Williams waiting with the connections of Better Buy It before the 2014 Southern Supremacy Stakes at Gore.

  • Good All Stars New Zealand winners driven by Tim:
  • Dream About Me (10)
  • Have Faith In Me (9)
  • Cash N Flow (8)
  • Another Masterpiece (6)
  • Piccadilly Princess (6)
  • Ashley Locaz (5)
  • Funatthbeach (5)
  • Smolda and Lazarus
  • GI Joe (4)
  • Meticulous (4)

Winners for Mark Purdon and Natalie: 103, Robert Dunn: 70 Wayne Adams: 37.

Harness Jewels (5)

  • Two Year Old Diamond: 2015 – Dream About Me
  • Two Year Old Emerald: Another Masterpiece 2018 and Ashley Locaz 2017
  • Three Year OId Diamond: Piccadilly Princess 2016
  • Three Year Old Emerald: Have Faith In Me

Bottom line:

4134 drives-500 winners-462 seconds -380 thirds for $7,423,104 in stakes for a UDR of .2137

From White to Black – Wecandream

Bruce Stewart

27th August 2020

“He came down here as a maiden with good form and carried that right through even though he’s jumped up the grades,” said driver Brad Williamson after Wecandream won his third race in Southland at Ascot Park today.

Wecandream warming up – Photo Bruce Stewart

Bred locally by Mark and Debbie Smith the Art Major gelding was trained initially by Brent White in Ashburton before Branxholme trainer Alister Black took over. He’s been in the south for three months and has been one of the most consistent pacers during lockdown.

From a wide draw Williamson took the five year old forward to challenge early pacemaker Miss Mucho with the two going head to head for the first two hundred metres.

“My horse got quite keen and was feeling so well so I decided to let him run and Brent (Brent Barclay driving Miss Mucho) was quite happy to trail me at that point.”

Wecandream held on to beat My Mate Ben by a length.

“I never pulled his pull down blinds but I pulled his plugs at the top of the straight and he did what he had to in the last couple of hundred metres.”

Wecandream winning for Brad Williamson – Photo Bruce Stewart

Returning to the birdcage – Photo Bruce Stewart

Pre-race trainer Alister Black was fairly bullish about his charge’s chances and Williamson saw that first hand.

“He was kicking out a bit before the race when we were getting the cart on. He’s certainly thriving on racing down here.”

Wecandream is owned by the Palmers Syndicate.

“He’s getting up in the grades now so it’s going to be tough but he’s definitely getting better. Today’s the best he’s ever gone.”

The Lauren Pearson trained Maximus Prost won his second race in three starts when he took out the last race on the card.

Perfectly positioned in the one one driver Brent Barclay let him run inside the last two hundred and he came powerfully down the middle of the track to beat pacemaker Who’s Smokin by a length and a quarter.

Maximus Prost winning at Ascot Park

Plenty of Emotion in Dark Horse’s Win

Bruce Stewart

27th August 2020

“I’m lost for words,” an emotional trainer driver Nathan Williamson said after Dark Horse won at Ascot Park today. It was unreal.”

It truly was one of the great comeback stories.

Dark Horse warming up – Photo Bruce Stewart

“She’s had two suspensory (injuries). Ross Jones (father in-law) was walking her every day. We did the rehab one hundred percent right the way through.”

It was the eight year old mare’s tenth win. She last won at Tuapeka in October 2017 – twenty two months ago, and had last raced in March finishing second to Pres The Belle in the Group Three Southern Lights at the Northern Southland meeting.

“You always worry first up – no workouts no trials. She’s just unreal.”

Today in the Brendan Franks Farrier Handicap Trot Dark Horse stayed at the back of the field for most of the journey. Inside the last 500 metres she started to get a cart into the race on the back of In Sequence but that horse broke rounding the last bend.

“I was jogging at the 400, I got checked really badly and it probably cost me about four lengths. She just picked up after that and just did it easy really.”

Dark Horse came down the middle of the track to win easily by a length and a quarter from Rydgemont Milly.

“Look at her go. Dark Horse – she has gone wooshca giving them wind burn off the fifty (metres), wow,” called commentator Justin Evans.

Williamson was seen to give a little satisfying fist pump as the mare came down to the line.

An emotional Nathan Williamson with Dark Horse at the end of her tenth win – Photo Bruce Stewart

Today’s win was testimony to the outstanding skills of her trainer. To have her relatively match fit for a season debut off fifty metres and win with her ear plugs still in was exceptional.

“It’s a bit emotional really. She’s the best horse I’ve ever had and as good as anything I’ve ever driven and I’ve been lucky to have driven some good ones. I was just so gutted when she broke down and then had another injury. I thought she was never going to come back. I followed the vets’ advice. Brendon Bell initially, then Guy Alexander who’s a part owner. Brendon recommended that I send her to Guy for some extra treatment.”

Members of the Griffins and Seafield Trotting Syndicate – Photo Bruce Stewart

I personally remember interviewing Nathan’s father Phil three years ago and asking him if he had another Dominion Handicap horse in the stable and he said “No but my son has.”

The win capped off three great months when trotters trained by the Williamson family, Phil, Brad and Nathan were the stars of lockdown racing in the south. We’ve been lucky to see Cracker Hill, Ultimate Stride, Chinese Whisper and now Dark Horse win in the province.

Meanwhile star Southland pacer Robyns Playboy proved how potent he is as a frontrunner when he beat up ten rivals in the main pace of the day.

After beginning well driver Craig Ferguson took the Shadow Play gelding to the top and there he stayed running a new track and Southland record of 3-19.8 for the 2700 metre stand with his last 800 metres cut out in 56.7. The previous record, recorded in 2015 of 3-20.1, was held by Isaiah. The New Zealand record of 3-17.2 is held by Triple Eight.

Robyns Playboy easily winning again for Craig Ferguson – Photo Bruce Stewart

Returning to the birdcage – Photo Bruce Stewart

Harness fans in the south are starting to get excited with the pending return of U May Cullect and Pembrook Playboy and the possibility of all three squaring off against each other.