Sand Wave Rolls On

Sand Wave Rolls On

Bruce Stewart

5th March 2022

Both trainer and owners acknowledge that it’s pretty hard for a horse to win five straight, but that’s what Sound Wave achieved at the Riverton meeting at Winton yesterday when he impressively took out the second heat of the Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes series.

Sand Wave and Nathan Williamson warming up

The race was a step up for the Bettor’s Delight colt with Cantfindabettorman and a handful for Canterbury three year olds up for the challenge.

Trainer driver Nathan Williamson settled Sand Wave back to the rear early as Cantfindabettorman sped to the lead for driver Matty Williamson.

Inside the last 1000 metres Williamson managed to get a tow into the race on the back of an improving Mossdale Ben. With the small field and hot pace Williamson was able to sit quietly for as long as he liked, and it wasn’t until the field balanced up that he peeled Sand Wave out to the middle of the track. Just as Mossdale Ben looked to have the race in hand, Sand Wave dug deep, getting the deciding strides in to win by half a head from Mossdale Ben with a neck back to Street Hawk.

“I was concerned about the quality of the opposition, but he did a good job to run them down,” Williamson said after the run.

The winning time for the 1609 metres was 1-55.1 with Sand Wave privately timed to run his last 800 metres in 54.4.

Sand Wave (6) getting the better of Mossdale Ben

Returning to the birdcage after win number six

As the winner of both heats of the series Sand Wave is ineligible to start in the series again.

“I’m going to have to map something out before the final and I’m not sure what. The Supremacy will come round soon enough. He’ll have a wee freshener for a couple of days, and we may have a look at a Country Cups race or go further up country.”

Winning connections

Today’s win was the horse’s sixth from eleven starts. He’s raced by the Nine Three Syndicate, Chris Alcock and Nude @ Ten Syndicate, each owing a third share.

The Nine Three Syndicate was put together by local lawyer Nic Popham, the aim being to get a yearling at last year’s national sales in Christchurch.

“It didn’t happen, and we walked away a bit demoralised with our tail between your legs. You put in a lot of effort to get the group together, get the money and then not get anything,” he said.

After the sale Williamson and Popham’s father-in-law, bloodstock agent Pete Lagan were charged with the task of uncovering a young horse for the group to buy and race.

They found Sand Wave which was bred and trained by Ashburton trainer Simon Adlam. He’d qualified the horse as a two yar old at Ashburton behind quality types in Akutu and Bollinger.

Williamson travel to Ashburton to trial the colt knowing he was by Somebeachsomewhere who had a reputation of leaving horses that can be highly strung.

“Nathan has said how placid he’s been all along, being by Somebeachsomewhere and a colt. He takes everything in his stride and doesn’t focus on anything else.”

To get to the asking price, Williamson had to get Pembrook Playboy’s owner Chris Alcock to come on board andto  also include the Nude @ Ten Syndicate.

“Fortunately, the money we paid for Sand Wave matched. It worked out perfectly. We all have different shares, but all get the same enjoyment. They’re already talking about getting another horse, so you just have to remind the new ones that it’s not always like this (laughter).”

He said racing the colt is reaching wider than just a group of friends.

“A lot of the wives, girlfriends and children were here today. Some of the boys are away on a fishing trip. The wives and girlfriends weren’t that keen for a start, now they’re front of the photos.”

Popham says having a quality three year old brings he added pressure of offers from buyers.

“The offers have started to come in for him which is not surprising, but when you’re in such a big group those offers  (boiled) down to some of the small (ownership) percentages don’t mean as much. It would have been a no brainer to sell him if you owned him yourself or four or five others.

On running a syndicate with varied members, Popham says it can have it’s complexities. “There’s a couple of work colleagues in the group. There’s a group from Christchurch who are family friends who saw him run at Cup Week but nothing since. They plan to be down for the Supremacy Final and we’ll try and make a day of it.”

Popham said whilst Sand Wave isn’t the biggest in stature, he’s filled out since coming south as a young horse.

“He was a very small horse. Justin Evans (commentator) always talks about wee Sand Wave but when you look at the horse now, he’s not as small as he was, and he’s filled out. Having that trip away (Cup Week) and racing some of the older horses has probably been the making of him.”

A race that features on Williamson’s hit list every season is the Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes which he finally won last season with Ragazzo Mach.

“That’s a realistic target for a local three year old but going to the likes of a Derby where you’ve got horses from the bigger stables is a lot harder.  The Derby is now in December so a lot can change in the next six months. I’ve been joking that we’ve been waiting for a slot holder to get in touch with us for The Race. I’m still waiting on the phone to ring, I could be waiting a while,” Popham said.

He added that when you have a horse like Sand Wave its important to  remain grounded. “You’ve always got to have dreams. A couple of years ago when Dad got into The Chosen One (Group One winning galloper) he joked about going to the Melbourne Cup and Derbys and trying to convince Mum in what he called investing in a galloper. He’s had the last laugh after winning a Group One and a couple of million dollars in stakes.”

With qualifying for April’s Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes done and dusted, its onto the next set of starts for Southland’s leading three year old.

“We’re very fortunate, and hopefully the run continues.”

Popham’s grandfather the late Henry Skinner won the 1991 Southern Supremacy with Handiboy which he trained with Alan Devery and he also trained and drove No Return to win the race in 1993. No Return ran second in the 1993 New Zealand Derby beaten by a neck by Mark Roy.

Sand Wave was one of five winners Williamson drove yesterday, a first time achievement, previously having driven four winners in a day, eight times.

Afterburner – one of five wins for Nathan Williamson

Charlie P, another Williamson winner

Winning connections of Charlie P

Watchlist another Williamson winner yesterday