First Class Just That In Kindergarten

First Class Just That In Kindergarten

Bruce Stewart

Bettor’s Delight colt First Class had the necessary race experience and ringcraft to dominate today’s Kindergarten Stakes at Wyndham and driver Tim Williams used that to perfection.

First Class warming up

Pre-race chat with Brent Barclay talking to Tim Williams and third placegetter Matty Williamson dialing in.

He controlled the pace of the race from the front with the knowledge that his main rival, stablemate Delightful Dude was on his back. There were no mid-race moves and from the 500 William notched First Class up a gear making sure none of the back runners could make any ground.

“He got it pretty cheap down the back and was able to dictate the race from the 500 to 600. He won nicely and he still had the plugs in,” said Williams.

First Class beating stablemate Delightful Dude

The overall time was 1-56.6 for the 1609 metres with the last 800 metres run in 56.6.

“Yep he did it nice. He’s just a great wee horse. Great doer, great gaited and doesn’t wear a lot of gear. He tries hard and is a lovely wee two year old,” said Williams.

The winning margin was three quarters of a length with Delightful Dude running second and Otago visitor American Lightning a further length and three quarters back in third.

“It worked out well. He can be a little bit racy but he relaxed really well once he got to the front so I thought there wasn’t much point in going much harder than I needed to.”

Returning

Williams drove him in his first three trials before he headed north to race in Auckland.

“I know the horse pretty well and the trip to Auckland has been the making of him. They grow up and it turns them into race horses. It was nice to get a win for him today because he’s had a couple of placings up until today.”

First Class is trained at Rolleston by Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen.

Purdon has won the Kindergarten four times as a stand alone trainer with So Cool (2002), Lennon (2003), Ohoka Arizona (2007) and Messini (2013).

He’s also won the time honoured race in partnership with Grant Payne with Sir Clive in 2008 and in the last seven seasons, with partner Natalie Rasmussen. He’s won the race six times with Itz Bettor To Win (2014), Waikiki Beach (2015), Pacing Major (2016), War Dan Delight (2018) and Flying Even Bettor (2019).

Williams is in a purple patch of form at the moment having driven 15 winners in the last 16 days. This was his second Kindergarten Stakes winner, having driven Messini to win the Group Three race in 2013.

Today’s win was Tim’s forty fourth group winner – 19 Group Threes, 11 Group Twos and 14 Group Ones.

He’s fast approaching his 500th winner, currently being on 484.

First Class is raced by Phil and Glenys Kennard, Breckon Racing Syndicate, Gary and Kerry Woodham and Jim and Ann Gibbs.

Kerry and Gary Woodham with First Class and Tim Williams

He was bred by Bromac Lodge and is out of the Falcon Seelster mare Amaretto Bromac which won two races. The Kennards bought the colt at the 2019 Christchurch Sale for $50,000.

The same group of owners won last year’s edition with Flying Even Bettor. And the Kennards and Gibbs also had a share in 2016 winner Pacing Major.