Duke Wins for Pearson

Duke Wins for Pearson

Bruce Stewart

28th October 2021

Duke Of Cornwall’s return to racing at Ascot Park today was on a winning note for catch driver Matty Williamson.

The gelding’s usual driver Brent Barclay was confined to stable duties today after he was suspended for his drive on American Eyretime last week.

Duke Of Cornwall warming up

From inside the second row Williamson got three back on the fence where Duke Of Cornwall looked uncomfortable. Miraculously when Boo raced wide out of the first bend Williamson was able to push off the inside, and the horse speared through to take the lead much to the surprise of commentator Justin Evans.

“Good drive that. I still don’t know how it happened. I’ll have to look at the replay,” said trainer Lauren Pearson.

From there Williamson dictated all the pace with the favourite Van Liberty sitting parked.

“He’s no good in front at home. It was a major surprise to see him there.”

Duke Of Cornwall leading with a lap to run

Duke Of Cornwall went down to the line to win by two and a half lengths from a brave Van Liberty.

At the finish line

The time of 2-02.8 was a new track and Southland record for two-year-old colts and geldings. The previous record for that age group over the 1700 metres from the mobile was 2-03.3 and was held by Ashley Locaz. Duke Of Cornwall paced his last 800 metres in 56.8 and the 400 in 28.1.


In the last regular season Duke of Cornwall lined up in the Kindergarten Stakes running fourth behind the classy winner Akuta. He had two other starts before Pearson turned him out.

“He’s filled out a lot and his work seems to be a lot stronger this time in.”

The son of Sweet Lou is owned by former Invercargill lawyer Lester Smith who now lives in Wanaka.

“As soon as he saw the draw, he decided he wasn’t coming down. He would have been watching it somewhere.”

Pearson is also looking after a full brother to Duke Of Cornwall (Duke Of Scotland) and his dam Galleons Honour is due to foal to Art Major.

“He’s (Duke Of Scotland) going to need a lot more time. He’s had two preps. He’s more like Duke Of Wellington.”

Galleons Honour has been an excellent broodmare for Smith with all her foals of racing age winning races. Her best winner was Duke Of Wellington which won five of his ten starts including the Southern Supremacy Stakes.

Pearson said Duke Of Cornwall will be aimed at the Nuggets Final on Thursday 18th November on his home course at Winton.

“Brent will be back then.”