Aylesbury harness racing trainer Dylan Stratford would have been the proudest man in Dunedin following last night's (Thursday August 30) Forbury Park Trotting Club's meeting. Stratford not only tasted success for the first time, but the 21-year-old was also able to achieve the milestone with Ricky May wearing his grandfather Roger Williams' gold and blue quartered colours.
"Both my grandfather and my mother (Jan Williams) are trainers. I was so pleased the horse could have won in my grandfather's colours because he hasn't been well lately.
"He's got a bit of an iffy ticker so I hope this lifted his spirits. This win is as much mine as what it is his," Stratford told Harnesslink.
The horse in question was 6-year-old trotter, Diedre's Flash, who started from 10 metres behind. The SJ's Photo gelding had two lengths and 1-1/4 lengths to spare over second and third placed Sunnivue Ted (Blair Orange) and Here Comes Pat (Brad Williamson).
Winner's time for the 2700m stand: 3:37.4 (mile rate: 2:09.5). Last 800m: 60.9. Last 400m: 30.9. Win dividend: $5.70.
Diedre's Flash was advertised nationally about three months ago and Stratford decided to buy her to train. He also shares the ownership with his mother, his girlfriend Laura Williams, Lindsay Reeve and Tracy McQuillan.
Diedre's Flash was initially trained by Phil Williamson in Oamaru and then by Craig Edmonds in Canterbury. He was bred by Sir Roy Mackenzie.
"I'm training two at the moment. Him and a3-year-old named McKhan. It's been a great start to my career. I didn't think my first win would come so soon," said Stratford who originates from Nelson.
The maiden victory came just 30 days into his training career. It was also just his third starter to the races.
Stratford said he worked for his family when he left school and then spent one-and-half years working for Dean Braun in Australia before returning to work for Tim Butt.
Then just after last year's New Zealand Cup Stratford relocated to Mark Jones stable, where he's still currently employed.
"I'm real pleased with the win. Ricky drove the horse well. He's always had a bit of ability. He's the first horse in my name so it's quite special - especially in those colours," Stratford, who is also a junior driver, said.
Footnote: Another highlight of the evening's racing was Ryal Bush horseman Nathan Williamson training and driving two winners in the sixth and seventh events. See results below.
By Duane RANGER (editor)
FORBURY PARK RACEWAY HIGHLIGHTS:
First Training Success: Dylan Stratford (R3).
Top Trainer: Nathan Williamson 2 wins.
Top Driver: Nathan Williamson, Mark Jones, and Ricky May 2 wins each.
Top Junior Driver: Matthew Williamson 1 win.
Top Sire: Nine races and 9 winning stallions.
Results from the Forbury Park Trotting Club's Racing Club's meeting raced in Dunedin this evening (Thursday August 30, 2012) were:
Race 1: The Carl Middleton trained and driven LADY NOVEMBER ().
Race 2: The Gavin Smith trained and driven SUNNY TWO SHOES ().
Race 3: The Dylan Stratford trained DIEDRE'S FLASH (SJ's Photo) Ricky May.
Race 4: The Mark Jones trained and driven ALEXY ().
Race 5: The Tom Kilkelly trained WOT THE OWL () Matthew Williamson (j).
Race 6: The Nathan Williamson trained and driven MAJOR DEED ().
Race 7: The Nathan Williamson trained and driven FRANCO SEVILLE ().
Race 8: The Cran Dalgety trained ROCKN ROLL LAD () Ricky May.
Race 9: The Dean Taylor trained VILLAGE TERROR () Mark Jones.
Dylan Stratford’s first training success with the Ricky May driven Diedre’s Flash at Forbury Park tonight (Thursday August 30, 2012):