Harness racing's first family of New Zealand trotting continues to achieve notable feats. The most recent was completed last Sunday at Oamaru when the three Williamson brothers, Nathan, Matthew and Brad combined to make up their first driving trifecta.
Previously the domain of the O'Reilly brothers of Mid-Canterbury, on Sunday Nathan, Matthew and Brad trifectaed Race 4 at Oamaru, with Nathan training and driving the winner Sunrise Delight, Brad finishing second on dad's horse Bet's Best and Matthew third on roughie Dusky Wishes for trainer Bruce Negus.
The last time a harness racing trifecta was made up of brothers was when Patrick, Gerard and Leo O'Reilly dominated Race 6 at the same venue, Oamaru, in August 1993. Interestingly, this was a year to the day after the first time the trio achieved the feat.
Sitting up in the stand last Sunday were proud parents Phil and Bev who themselves have enjoyed their own run of success. Despite being a beaten favourite in the Harness Jewels at the start of the month Irish Whisper was in hot demand by international buyers and has since been sold to USA interests for big money.
And then there's Phil, the doyen of New Zealand trotting training and the man poised to complete a milestone never achieved before in New Zealand harness racing.
Phil sits on 298 trotting wins as a trainer. To make it to 300 will be a supreme achievement. One only has to look at the fact that trotting races make up just 22% of total harness races in New Zealand to understand obtaining 300 training wins is some achievement.
Phil started off training in 1993 with limited success, steadily growing his team and success level. In fact he only became a fully fledged professional trainer in 2006 but by that time his record with trotters was well established.
He was winning Group 1 races and awards with his stock.
In a relatively short training career names such as Role Model, One Under Kenny, Allegro Agitato, Jasmyn's Gift, Lets Get Serious, One Over Kenny, Springbank Richard and Leighton Hest punctuate a brilliant training resume.
Given the numbers he now has in training and the quality of stock available, the Williamson legacy could continue to develop rapidly in the coming decade.
In Phil's quest for 300 trotting wins he has four horses representing the stable this week. They are:
- El Castro - Forbury Park Race 1 (5:00pm) Fri 29 Jun
- Here Comes Pat - Forbury Park Race 3 (6:05pm) Fri 29 Jun
- Warder - Forbury Park Race 3 (6:05pm) Fri 29 Jun
- Majestic Kenny - Rangiora Race 2 (11:50am) Sun 01 Jul
- Phil is sitting on 298 trotting training wins in New Zealand
- Brother's Nathan, Matthew and Brad trifecta Race 4 at Oamaru last Sunday
- Matthew enjoying his personal best season with 81 wins. (5th on premiership)
- In his first season of driving Brad has 15 wins to date.
- Nathan is starting to make his mark as a trainer with eight wins from 45 starts this season.
- Mum Bev has sold her smart trotter Irish Whisper to America for a six-figure sum.
by Andrew MORRIS
The Williamson $112.40 trifecta: