Williamson Targets Diamonds Day
27th April 2022
Diamonds Day at Ascot Park is the meeting Southland’s leading trainer Nathan Williamson targets every year – its the province’s ‘big money’ day with over a quarter of a million in stakes up for grabs.
Last year Williamson trained and drove Ragazzo Mach to win his first Supremacy, as well as completing a notable treble by reining Pembrook Playboy to win the Country Cups Final and You’re So Fine trained by Brett Gray to win the Diamond Creek Farm Two Year Old Classic.
The Branxholme trainer’s win in the Supremacy was particularly satisfying as he’d run two seconds previously with both Tas Man Bromac in 2015 and Pembrook Playboy in 2020 beaten by very short margins.
“It’s a race to target if you’ve got a nice three year old in your stable and last year we were lucky enough to win it,” Williamson said.
This year he lines up Sand Wave, one of the favourites for the Alabar sponsored classic. He last raced on Friday in a small field against Country Cup class horses.
“It was a funny run race and they sprinted home quickly. He needed that run and he benefited from it. I was pleased with his track work on Sunday. It’ll be a very competitive race, hopefully it’s a true run affair and the best horse wins.”
This is the 38th running of the southern feature with Crafty Kobba winning the inaugural running in 1984. Changeover (2007) and Auckland Reactor (2008) are two notable names on the Supremacy trophy.
Williamson has driven in the Supremacy ten times with the first being Silver Ranger (2009) for Kirk Larsen as a junior. Other drives were: El Nino (2010), Ardghal (2012), Major Deed (2013), Uncle Ben (2014), Tas Man Bromac (2015), Fiddlethefool (2016), Franco Santino (2017), Zinny Mac (2019), Pembrook Playboy (2020) and Ragazzo Mach (2021).
Ragazzo Mach winning last years Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes
His first trained runner was Major Deed in 2013 (5th). Other runners have been: Tas Man Bromac (2nd) and Statham (5th), Franco Santino (3rd), Pembrook Playboy (2nd) and Ragazzo Mach (1st).
If Sand Wave wins the Supremacy, it’ll be significant on a number of other levels. Part-owner Chris Alcock owns Pembrook Playboy which ran second in 2020 so he’d like to go one better, and Syndicate manager Nic Popham’s grandfather Henry Skinner won this race with No Return in 1993.
Sand Wave and Nathan Williamson
Williamson would also love to win the Diamond Creek Farm Two Year Old Classic, having finished fourth in 2019 with Pembrook Playboy and second with Ragazzo Mach who was beaten a nose to Dashing Major in 2020.
This year he has The Black Flash in the two year old feature.
He’s progressed well in this campaign and was running on in his debut in the Kindergarten Stakes.
“I was thrilled with his Kindergarten run. We had a tricky draw, but he hit the line strongly. The extra distance will suit him, so it’ll come down to the draw and the luck on the day. I think he’s competitive.”
The Black Flash heading into the birdcage prior to the Kindergarten
Williamson took a number of his horses to the Ascot Park track on Monday for a hit out and The Black Flash was one of them.
“It was pretty windy. We gave him a good look around, he felt happy, bright and well. He’s real tractable and has lovely manners. I think he can front up on Saturday.”
The Black Flash warming up prior to his hit out at Ascot Park on Sunday
The Diamond Creek is Southland richest harness race with a stake of $60,000.
Williamson also has Foveaux Strait in on Saturday. He raced at Wyndham, but Williamson was disappointed with his run there.
“He did a bit of work, but I still thought he should have been there or there abouts. We went back to the drawing board, and I was happy with the way he trialled on Saturday. He felt pretty sharp. If he gets a nice draw, he should be pretty tough to beat.”