Cracker Hill Off To Winning Start

Cracker Hill Off To Winning Start

Mac Henry

Cracker Hill played no part in the dramatic opening to ‘Wairio Mile Day’ but was awarded victory in the first, despite being second across the line.

And for trainer-driver Brad Williamson it wasn’t even a new experience.

“That’s fourth time I’ve been promoted to first, twice after interference and twice after the winner returned positives,” he said.

Tinwald visitor Dora Explorer was called in the winner, only to be relegated for causing interference to Big Iron entering the back straight. Big Iron lost about 40 lengths in the incident before rallying to finish fourth, less than four lengths from the ‘winner’.

“I wasn’t affected by the interference,” Williamson said, “and was happy with second. He was more green in the straight than I expected and that was probably the difference between winning or coming second.”

A two-year-old on debut, Cracker Hill was passed in at the yearling sales by his breeders Lex and Heather Williams. According to Williamson, Gary Preston of Queenstown later secured the youngster, put a syndicate together and had him broken in a Jamie Keast.

“I met Gary at the Oamaru races one day, he asked me if I would train it for them. They are some of the same syndicate that races One Apollo.”

A winner at Winton last month, One Apollo is trained at Ashburton by Brent White.

“He was ready for a second prep when I got him, he’ll only have four or five races this time but will be aimed at the premier two-year-old trots, that win would qualify him for the Jewels.”

One of only two juveniles in the field, Cracker Hill’s time was 2:07.1, almost certainly a New Zealand record for two-year-old over a mile from a stand.

Cracker_Hill_950_x_634.jpg Cracker Hill taken at the Winton Workouts. That day he was wearing Nathan Williamson colours – Photo Bruce Stewart

Later in the programme, Brad Williamson also got a double for the day, the second in the sulky of Santanna’s Rocket. Trained at Gore by Syd Breen, the five-year-old clocked 1:53.7, second fastest winning time of the day. It was the continuation of a successful period for Breen who at Wyndham last week took out the local Cup quinella with Sagwitch and Santanna’s Rocket. Breen’s strike rate this season sits at 15 wins from just 62 starts.

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