Day At The Track

Trotting double for Phil Williamson

09:15 AM 12 Mar 2017 NZDT
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Monty Python after winning the Southern Lights 2017
Monty Python after winning at Invercargill
Photo - Bruce Stewart

It was no surprise when Oamaru harness racing trainer Phil Williamson won both trotting races yesterday at the Northern Southland Trotting Club's meeting at Ascot Park.

With bigger stakes carded New Zealand's leading trainer of squaregaiters always has his team primed for meetings like these.

Monty Python added to Williamson's outstanding record in the Group Three Southern Lights when he easily beat Golden Gate by four lengths in track record time for colts and geldings. 

Monty Python winning easily for driver Matthew Williamson   - Photo Bruce Stewart

The 4-06.6 for the 3200 metres betters the old record of 4-07.1 held by another Williamson trotter Springbank Sam which won the race in 2015. The race record of 4-05.3 is held by last year's winner Harriot Of Mot. 

This is the fourth time Williamson has trained the winner of this race. He won in 2009 with Mystic Sun and 2013 and 2015 with Springbank Sam. He also drove Raymauwarrhen Sun to win the Southern Lights in 2010. 

"He's always been a nice horse. But without wanting to put him down from such a high today he's just a wee bit below the stars. He's a very nice horse all the same," he said after Monty Python's win.

He also praised his son Matty's drive on the seven year old which is owned by DR Beckindale and the Griffins Syndicate. 

Members of the syndicate with trainer Phil Williamson - Photo Bruce Stewart

"Syndicates can get into horses without too much cost compared to taking one on your own. They've been very lucky to get the foals out of Juliana who's proved to be a gem. They've had a super run."

It was Matty Williamson's 224th trotting winner - 156 of those have been for his father. It was the eleventh win for Monty Python, and the seven year old is now assessed as a C7 trotter.

"Every race now in this grade they're running times and he's against very good horses so it's definitely difficult to keep winning. He's proven he can match them though on his best days. He gave Master Lavros a good run in Central."  

In the previous race yesterday quality four year old Washington VC trotter Blazing Under Fire won his sixth race in just twenty seven starts when he beat favourite Musculus by half a length. 

Blazing Under Fire too strong on the outside                       - Photo Bruce Stewart

"A nice little progressive horse coming through. It won't be his last win as he's got the all round game to go further. He's got a little bit of speed, good gait and great stamina so you (he) can be put into races."    

Driver Matty Williamson sat back, letting the favourite Musculus in the hands of Dexter Dunn roll along in front. With 1400 metres to run he shot the gelding around to sit parked beside Musculus and that proved to be the winning of the race.

Back to scale                                                               - Photo Bruce Stewart.

"He had to get him into the race with the favourite up the front end. If you sit back it's pretty hard to pull back Dexter if you let him get his own way up front. So Matt thought he'd go up and match him a see whether he could come out on top or not."


Bruce Stewart
Southland Harness Racing

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