Oamaru reinsman Matty Williamson drove his 800th winner at Gore today.
“I had a look a fortnight ago and then Charlotte (partner Charlotte Purvis) said I was on 799. The goal is to beat Nathan (brother) to 1000 so I’ve got him in a bit of bother now, as long as I don’t get injured – touch wood,” Williamson said after driving favourite Stingray Tara for Ryal Bush trainer Hamish Hunter to win.
Williamson said his career highlights so far are winning three Group One races on Leighton Hest, Pembrooks Delight and Luisanabelle Midfrew.
“Leighton Hest was my first which was massive, Pembrooks Delight my first pacing win for the Knights who were big supporters of me when I started, and Luisanabelle Midfrew for Nigel McGrath. Hopefully there’s another Group One horse coming along.”
Williamson said representing New Zealand in the World Drivers Championship in Sweden was another highlight.
“Yeah the trip of a lifetime. I was really lucky. I loved all the people I met. The trainers were great to drive for just like they are here.”
Stingray Tara lead from Gate Two and dictated all the terms to hold out an improved Ronnie Pickering by three quarters of a length.
“He’s gone super. The horse felt good. He’s quite lazy but when I asked him at the top of the straight he really dropped his bum and went. I’m thinking the grade rise shouldn’t be too hard for him.”
Stingray Tara holds out Ronnie Pickering – Photo Bruce Stewart
Win number 800 for Matty Williamson – Photo Bruce Stewart
In the last few seasons Williamson has driven the majority of Hunter’s horses, as the veteran driver takes a step back from raceday driving.
“Hamish is great to drive for. There is never any pressure. Even when I drive a bad race, I say sorry, and he says good as gold.”
Matty’s brothers Nathan and Brad are expected to reach their own milestones this season.
As a driver Brad is three wins away from 300 while older brother Nathan has fifteen winners to drive before he gets to 800.