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When we were doing the harness racing ringaround prior to Xmas for horses to follow over the holiday period, there was quite a bit of friendly banter when we rang the Williamson household. Phil jokingly told us while Matthew and Nathan were in great touch, Brad was going through a bit of a dry patch and we might be waiting a while for him to salute the judge. Of course at Gore on Boxing Day Nathan drove and trained three winners and Matthew also got his horse to follow over the holidays home in Brads Kenny up on debut but Brad remained winless. At Winton yesterday both Nathan and Matthew had chalked up another winner each by the time it came to race ten where Brad was down to drive Nureyev for Murray Brown. Given out by Brad as his horse to follow over the holidays, Nureyev was not liked by the punters but Brad was quietly confident. " Murray was quite bullish about his chances and told me he would be hard to beat." "I've driven for Murray in the past and when he tells you they are ready, they are." "That is my sixth winner for Murray so I wouldn't mind driving a few more for him,"  Brad told Harnesslink this morning. Nureyev is bred to be good being by Christian Cullen from the former smart racemare Idancedallnight 1:57.5 ($103,656) and Brad says the stable has always had an opinion of the 4 year old gelding. " Murray said nothing had gone right with his last campaign but this time in it had all gone to script." " It was a penalty free win yesterday and he is still a C1 so he could easily win another couple quickly on what he showed yesterday. "Murray was adamant he would improve further with racing as well." " He didn't strike me as a real quick horse and I think stamina will be his strength," " That win price ($10:90) was good for those who follow the ringaround, "Brad said. They say you are only as good as your last drive so Brad can expect a lot less banter at home in the next few days. Harnesslink Media    

The Gore Harness Racing Club was the scene yesterday of just another reminder of how talented the Williamson clan is when the family completely dominated the Xmas meeting. Phil tends to take a back seat this days as his three sons have gone about establishing themselves as top horsemen in their own right. Race one was a portent of things to come for the day when the Phil Williamson barn runner Brads Kenny absolutely bolted in on debut by 8 3/4 lengths with Nathan and Brad driving the minor placegetters for a "Williamson" tfifecta. A 3 year old son of Monarchy from the former 3 year old Trotting Filly of the year in One Over Kenny ($87,919), Brads Kenny was purchased by Phil Williamson for the Met Eight Syndicate at the 2013 sales at Christchurch for $26,000. Even though he qualified at two, Brads Kenny has been given plenty of time before making his debut yesterday. Driver Matthew Williamson was suitably impressed with yesterday's effort. " It was a real good effort for a young trotter having his first start" " He does have great manners though so I thought he would do things right," Matthew told Harnesslink today. " He is not very big like a lot of that "Kenny" breed but he is beautifully gaited and has a future," Matthew said. No one in the stable is getting too carried away at this stage and plans at the moment are to set him for the Northern Southland meeting on January 15th. "We will just race him in the grades down here and see how he progresses," Matthew said. Not to be outdone, Nathan Williamson trained and drove the short priced winner of race 2 in Statham. Another making his debut yesterday, Statham was sent out a $1:50 shot on the back of some impressive trials performances. The 3 year old son of Bettor's Delight is from a full sister in blood to the former Harness Jewels winner in Joyfuljoy 1:51.3 ($339,612). After qualifying Statham as a 2 year old in 2:00.2 for the mile, Nathan turned him out to strengthen up. " The owners have been really patient and I think it will pay dividends in the long run." "He won yesterday on raw talent and great manners but I don't think you will see the best of him until he is four" "He is such a big horse and when he matures he will make a lovely older horse," Nathan said. No sooner had Nathan won race 2 then he was at it again taking out race 5 with the talented Sundon trotting mare Dwindle Mist.  Starting off 40 metres behind, Dwindle Mist came with a strong staying run from well back in the field to grab her fourth win in her last six starts. Nathan thought the two false starts may have undone her yesterday. " She caused the first false start when she went through the barrier strand and then on the second attempt she got the tape around her legs. "On the third attempt she bounded away but came down quickly but settled well back so I didn't think I could win the race from back there." "When I looked up at the 800 metres, we were miles from the leaders but she ran home great," Nathan said. Trained for her first two wins by his father Phil, Dwindle Mist was sent to Nathan to give her a change of scenery and she hasn't looked back. "She is really in the zone at the moment and I don't think she has stopped winning yet." "We will head to Roxburgh next where she will be off 50 metres but I don't think that will stop her, Nathan said. To cap off a great day, Nathan trained and drove his third winner for the meeting when the Jereme's Jet 4 year old mare Kiwi Focus took out the last at odds of 27 to 1. Last early in the 14 horse field, Kiwi Focus was three wide for nearly a lap before finding the death at the 900 metres mark and then proved too strong in the straight for the Dexter Dunn driven Ohoka Royal in a 2:00.6 mile rate. Nathan was quietly confident of a big run prior to the race. "Her work at home has been excellent and everything pointed to a big run" "She finished close up behind Statham at the recent trials in a 56.6 half so I thought she would go good" " I cant believe she paid $27.00 but the owners are happy because they had a punt on her," Nathan said. All things considered it was a great day for the Williamson boys and the way their horses went it might pay to follow them over the holiday period. Harnesslink Media   

Bit of the post Cup blues from last weeks tipsters with just Blair Orange, John Curtin, Tony Herlihy, Todd Macfarlane and Nathan Williamson nailing winners while the tipsters racked up seven placings as well. Jimmy Curtin went close with Juliette Bromac at Addington running second when paying $31 to win. This week there is plenty of racing in the south with four meetings and just one in the north and our tipsters have covered all the meetings. Due to the invited drivers series at Invercargill taking over the last six races there, we have no selections from our southern tipsters this week bar Nathan Williamson who is driving at Forbury Park.  Forbury Park - Thursday Night Matt Williamson - Thought Tachma was right in the zone and could win race 1 Nathan Williamson - Gives Strathmores Charm a real chance to go back to back in race 5 Tim Williams - Reckons with the big drop back in class Here We Go Again should win race 6   Alexandra Park - Friday Night John Curtin  (Harnesslink) - Reckons Hot Mach will be too good in race 1 Steven Reid - Likes Blinding Light  with a better barrier draw this week to win race 3 Todd Macfarlane - Rates Bourbon Street a big chance of clearing maidens in race 6 Scott Phelan - With Spanish Lustre scratched, his best drive is now Le Lua Invasion in race 9   Timaru - Saturday Afternoon  John Dunn - Likes Eilish Aimee to start her career on a winning note in race 1 Bob Butt - Rates Easy Rider a good chance to atone for Ashburton last week and win race 2 Steve Richardson (TAB) - Gives Major Patron a big show of turning his form around in race 3 Brad Williamson - Thought the standing start would make Goshawk an each way chance in race 7  Ricky May - Reckons Pay Me Art from the front line will be hard to beat in race 9 Terry Chmiel - Gives Stradowan a winning chance even off 10 metres , also in race 9 Gerard O'Reilly - Likes Jayceekay from the mobile to be too good and win race 10  Craig Thornley - Rates Real Life Hero a big chance to take out race 11   Banks Peninsula - Sunday Afternoon Robbie Holmes - Thinks Willie Shine is slowly turning the corner and can win race 1 Jim Curtin - Thought Franco Tyrone was a good chance to win race 12   Invercargill - Sunday Afternoon Maurice McKendry - Thought from barrier 3 Sheeza Shark would be tough to roll in race 8  Blair Orange - Rates Pepe Bromac,even from barrier 12 a chance to beat Sheeza Shark in race 8    Harnesslink Media

We thought it would be interesting to get the viewpoint of all our regular tipsters with regards how they see the New Zealand Cup this week and so the following selections are how they see the race. Maurice McKendry --- Adore Me -- Terror To Love -- Christen Me Tony Herlihy --- Adore Me -- Terror To Love -- Tiger Tara Sean McCaffrey --- Terror To Love -- Hands Christian --Christen Me Scott Phelan --- Terror To Love -- Adore Me --Christen Me Todd Macfarlane --- Terror To Love -- Adore Me -- For A Reason Todd Mitchell --- Terror To Love -- Adore Me -- For A Reason John Curtin --- Christen Me -- For A Reason -- Terror To Love Matthew Williamson --- Terror To Love -- Hands Christian -- Christen Me Nathan Williamson --- Terror To Love -- Christen Me -- Adore Me Brad Williamson --- Terror To Love -- Adore Me -- Christen Me Shane Walkinshaw --- Terror To Love -- Christen Me -- Adore Me Brendon McLellan --- Terror To Love -- Christen Me -- Adore Me Clark Barron --- Christen Me -- Terror To Love -- Hands Christian Tim Williams --- Adore Me --- Terror To Love --- Christen Me   Terry Chmiel --- Terror To Love -- Hands Christian -- For A Reason Steve Richardson --- Terror To Love --For A Reason -- Tiger Tara Robbie Holmes --- Christen Me -- Terror To Love -- Franco Nelson Gerard O'Reilly --- Terror To Love -- Hands Christian -- Tiger Tara  Craig Thornley --- Terror To Love -- Hands Christian --Jimmy Johnstone Jim Curtin --- Terror To Love -- Christen Me -- Hands Christian Ricky May --- Terror To Love -- Christen Me -- Hands Christian Blair Orange --- Terror To Love -- Christen Me -- Adore Me John Dunn --- Terror To Love -- Christen Me -- Franco Nelson                                                                 Cup Day Ringaround   With a lot of our regular tipsters involved in Cup Day we thought we would ask them for their best drive from their book tomorrow. Blair Orange - Quite bullish about the chances of Eyre I Come in race 1 Tony Herlihy -  Rates Tokohoka from the All Stars team as tough to beat in race 2 Gerard O"Reilly - Thought King Of Strathfield had freshened up nicely and could win race 3 Steve Richardson (TAB) - Like Gerard, Steve thinks that King Of Strathfield will win race 3 Ricky May - Very bullish about Dalton Bromac even fron barrier 9 winning race 4 John Curtin (Harnesslink) - Thinks Fly Like An Eagle can confound the pundits and win race 5 Matthew Williamson - Reckons Springbank Sam is a great place chance in race 6 Maurice McKendry - As you would expect, Maurice thinks Hughie Green will win race 7 Robbie Holmes - If Cyclone Kiwi steps Robbie thinks he will win race 8 Craig Thornley - Thought All Delight was a good place chance at odds, also in race 8 Jimmy Curtin - Thinks Te Kawau from barrier three will win  race 9 Tim Williams - Reckons Here We Go Again can overcome the bad draw and win, also in race 9 Nathan Williamson - Confident that Spash Cola is a big chance to win race 11 John Dunn - Rates No Doctor Needed very hard to beat in race 12 Terry Chmiel - Likes Happy Heidi to run the Quinella with No Doctor Needed  in race 12   Harnesslink Media

Last week saw a big improvement from the week before but the team of tipsters are still not really at peak yet. Maurice McKendry, Sean McCaffrey, Todd Mitchell, Todd Macfarlane, Matthew Williamson and Steve Richardson from the TAB all nabbed winners while another five managed placings. As we countdown to Cup week, there are once again five meetings nationwide and we have selections for all of them. Forbury Park - Thursday night Craig Thornley - Likes Smart Caesar from a mobile to be hard to beat in race 4 Brad Williamson - Thought Pegasus Kommander from barrier 2 would be hard to beat in race 6 Nathan Williamson - Reckons Dwindle Mist is on the improve and can take out race 7   Auckland - Friday night John Curtin (Harnesslink) - Thought the central districts visitor Our Wicklow would be hard in race 1 Maurice Mckendry - Rates the chances of The Orange Agent in race 2 Scott Phelan - Thinks Chosen Path even from barrier 15 can win race 6 Zac Butcher - Likes Chachingchaching to upset Hughie Green in race 7 Todd Mitchell - Reckons Eyrewell Pegasus can overcome the 20 metre handicap and win race 8 Tony Herlihy - Likes stable runner Danger Mouse in the hands of Tony Cameron to win race 9 Todd Macfarlane - Thinks A Chance To Dream from barrier 1 could win race 10   Addington - Friday night Jim Curtin - Thought Juliette Bromac was a real chance of winning race 2 Tim Williams - Rates Have Faith In Me back to a maiden very hard to beat, also in race 2  Robbie Holmes - Rates Tehoro Ruby a chance to upset from the mobile in race 3 John Dunn - Likes Monumental to turn his form around in race 4 Terry Chmiel - Confident that Stradowan has improved from first up run and can win race 8   Riverton - Sunday afternoon Shane Walkinshaw - Rates Majestic Stride a real show of winning race 3 Matthew Williamson - Thought Alley Way even from 50 metres should be too good for them in race 5 Clark Barron - Thinks with natural improvement Sheeza Shark won't be far away in race 7 Dexter Dunn - Likes Courage To Fly to end his run of seconds and win race 8   Kaikoura - Monday afternoon Steve Richardson (TAB) - Thought star trialist Princess Galleon could win race 1 Blair Orange - Couldn't see Mighty Flying Major beaten in race 3 Gerard O'Reilly - Thought Carrickmannon could trouble Webb Ellis and Highview Freddy in race 4 Ricky May - Confident that Mel Gibson can go one better than his last start and win race 5 Sam Ottley - Thinks Price Of Fame will go very close also in race 5 Sean McCaffrey - Rates Norvic Nightowl a real chance in the Kaikoura Cup, race 8    Harnesslink Media

Last week we got a good old fashioned kick up the butt with just three of our tipsters selecting a winner and only six overall were in the money. Blair Orange, Terry Chmiel and Nathan Williamson furthered their good record as selectors whilst there were plenty of hard luck stories from others all over the country. They start with a clean slate this week and have come up with plenty of value for readers with plenty of runners whose form is not the best but who our selectors give a real chance to. Manawatu - Thursday night Scott Phelan - Even though he has drawn the second row thinks Art Magic should win race 3   Auckland - Friday night Todd Mitchell - Thought Elliesjet even from barrier 12 would be hard to beat in race1 Steven Reid - Very bullish about Unforgiving from barrier one in race 4 Steve Richardson (TAB) - Likes The Orange Agent to upset Unforgiving in race 4 John Curtin (Harnesslink) - Thinks Boizel even off 40 metres can win race 5 Tony Herlihy - Rates Downunder Stride from barrier one as hard to beat in race 6 Sean McCaffrey - Rates Le Lua Invasion a good chance against the fillies and mares in race 7 Maurice McKendry - Confident that Hughie Green will atone for last week and win race 8 Zac Butcher - Likes Saffron Castleton to turn her form around in race 9   Addington - Friday night Blair Orange - Rates Quaint Glen a big chance even from barrier 12 in race 2 Tim Williams - Confident that Adore Me's little brother Have Faith In Me can win race 6 John Dunn - Feedback from stable suggests Light Up Boss will win race 7 if driver at his best Brad Williamson - Thinks The Silver Fox just needs a change of luck to win race 8 Sam Ottley - Quite keen on Bird Of Paradise to turn her form around in race 10     Manawatu - Sunday afternoon Todd Macfarlane - Rates Hudy Haxwell a royal show on the second day at Manawatu Peter Scaife - Gives Johnny Vegas a big chance on the second day at Manawatu   Tuapeka - Sunday afternoon Dexter Dunn - Reckons Margarita can make it four wins from her last five in race 6 Matthew Williamson - Thinks Alley Way can go one better than last week and win race 7 Nathan Williamson - Likes stablerunner Onedin Mach to make it four in a row in race 8 Craig Thornley - Thought Drover's Eyre would be tough to roll in race 11   Ashburton - Monday afternoon Gerard O'Reilly - Confident that Never Fear can turn her form around in race 1 Jim Curtin - Thinks Star Of Dionysis is overdue and can win race 2 Ricky May - Keen on Brilliant Strike who has a decent draw for once to win race 4 Terry Chmiel -Thought That Guy Finn even in that super hot field can win race 6   Harnesslink Media

Last week we had usual suspects tipping out the winners with Blair Orange, Gerard O"Reilly, Ricky May, Clark Barron and Steve Richardson all being successful while eleven of our other tipsters were in the money headed by Robbie Holmes with Nicalea ($6.30) at Timaru. This week we have five meetings to cover and our tipsters have covered them all. Cambridge - Thursday night Todd Mitchell - Thinks Take Charge from barrier two is a big chance in race 4 Steve Richardson - Keen on Speak Up who has been racing with merit at Auckland in race 5 Peter Scaife - Confident of a big run from V C Dell, also in race 5 Sean McCaffrey - Bullish about Strawberry Courage from the front line in race 6    Auckland - Friday night Todd Macfarlane - Thinks Hudy Haxwell is due a change of luck in race 4 Scott Phelan - Thought Le Lua Invasion would be tough to roll in race 5 John Curtin (Harnesslink) - Bullish about My Kiwi Mate in race 6 Maurice McKendry - Confident that Hughie Green can take the step up in race 7 Tony Herlihy - Likes Mighty Regal to go one better than his last start second in race 9 Steven Reid - Rates Sirius Star as well overdue for a win and thinks it will come in race 9 as well   Addington - Friday night Terry Chmiel  - Thinks with last weeks run under her belt that Oh Nova is ready to win race 3 Blair Orange - Confident Mighty Flying Major will be too good in race 4 Ricky May - Very bullish on the chances of Matty Groves in race 5 Craig Thornley - Rates Johny Rock a big chance, even from barrier nine in race 7 Brad Williamson - Quietly confident about the chances of Al Raza in race 8   Methven - Sunday afternoon Gerard O'Reilly - Rates Give Me Strength a huge chance back on the grass in race 1  John Dunn - Confident Return To Sender is primed to win race 5 Jim Curtin - Thinks stable rep Star Of Dionysis is a big chance in the junior drivers event, race 10   Wairio - Sunday afternoon Matthew Williamson - Likes Springbank Ruby to atone for her Timaru effort and win race 3 Brendon McLellan - Thinks oldtimer Suncrusher can teach the young ones a thing or two, also in race 3 Nathan Williamson - Confident of a big showing from the classy Jag's Invasion in race 4 Robbie Holmes - Thinks Smiling Star can make a race of it with Fly Like An Eagle in race 7 Clark Barron - Quite bullish about Shezacheapy who comes in fresh in race 8  Shane Walkinshaw - Draw a killer but still likes Double Rainbow in race 9   Harnesslink Media

Another five winners last week with Scott Phelan, Todd Mitchell, Maurice McKendry, Matt Williamson and Blair Orange doing the business while another eight selections filled a minor placing. This week there are four meetings countrywide and we have selections for them all. Forbury Park - Thursday night Matthew Williamson - Thinks Davey's Gift can go back to back in race 2 Nathan Williamson -  Thought Bettakatethanneva might upset them in race 8   Alexandra Park - Friday night Todd Macfarlane - Quite keen on Even Flo in race 1 after her smart last start third Todd Mitchell - Thinks a couple of gear changes will see Courtney John win race 1 Scott Phelan - Shooting for three in a row with the lightly raced Jazz It Up in race 2 Tony Herlihy - Keen on the chances of Grumpy Possum in race 4 Steven Reid - Likes Elliot Daniel to continue his renaissance in race 9 Maurice Mckendry - Thinks Wings Of a Prayer can take race 10   Addington - Friday night Blair Orange - Very confident McArdle Star can make it two from two in race 1 John Dunn - Likes Wesley Silcox to make it three wins from four starts in race 2 Terry Chmiel - Very keen on Parramatta in the Junior Drivers event, race 4 Steve Richardson (TAB) - Keen on the first starter Add No Interest in race 8 Jim Curtin - Thought that The Persuader was overdue in race 8 as well Brad Williamson - Thinks Queen Kenny will be very hard to beat in race 9 John Curtin (Harnesslink) - Likes Lookofalegend to leave maidens in race 10 Ricky May - Rates Brilliant Strike a huge winning chance in race 10 as well   Rangiora - Sunday afternoon Gerard O"Reilly  Thinks Cracklin Rosie is overdue a winning turn in race 5 Sam Ottley - Likes Sterns Arising to cap off some good form in race 8

Last week was on the up  for our harness racing pundits with Sam Ottley, Tony Herlihy, John Dickie, John Curtin, Scott Phelan and Blair Orange nailing winners why five other selections ran a place but just missed the winners circle. This week we cover the four meetings once again and hope our selectors can tip you into a winner or three. Cambridge - Thursday Night Sean McCaffrey - Rates Strawberry Courage a royal chance in the first, the amateur drivers race. Scott Phelan - Thinks Chosen Path can break out of maidens in race 2 Todd Macfarlane - Likes Tarn to overcome her 30 meter handicap, also in race 2 Todd Mitchell - Very bullish about the chances of Eyrewell Pegasus in race 5 Maurice McKendry - Thinks Hughie Green can continue his winning streak in race 6 Zac Butcher - Confident that Chachingchaching can win ,even from second line, also in race 6 John Curtin (Harnesslink) - Bullish about Bute Mach in race 8 after unlucky run last start Peter Scaife - Is confident Mach Cullen is a big winning chance, also in race 8   Northern Southland - Friday Afternoon  Clark Barron - Confident that Mass Invasion can improve on first up 4th and win race 2  Nathan Williamson - Reckons Nothingforthemedia could cause a real blowout in race 3 Brendon McLellan - Thinks Nightmarch will be hold to hold out, also in race 3 Matthew Williamson -  Very keen on Smokin Bird in race 7 Shane Walkinshaw - Likes Canardly Lover having first run back to win race 8   Addington - Friday Night Sam Ottley - Thinks Ottawa can overcome the unruly mark and win race 3 Brad Williamson - Reckons The Silver Fox is overdue a winning turn, also in race 3 John Dunn - Rates Lumos a huge chance back to a stand in race 4 Steve Richardson - Likes the lightly raced mare Alexandra Leaving in race 8 Blair Orange - Very bullish about the smart Mighty Major in race 9   Banks Peninsula - Sunday Afternoon Gerard O'Reilly - Thinks Just Leave can improve on Methven 5th and win race 2 Ricky May - Urges punters to stick with Speedski in race 6 after his luckless 4th at Methven. Terry Chmiel - Likes Gyrate to go back to back in race 10 if he can get a run through from the second line.   Harnesslink Media

Last weeks harness racing selections were a case of so near yet so far. Maurice McKendry, Terry Chmiel, Ricky May, Gerald O'Reilly and Nathan Williamson all nabbed winners while six others were placed, some at good odds. This week we have four meetings around the country and our selections are spread over those meetings and Maurice McKendry is shooting for three in a row at Auckland. Addington - Thursday Night Ricky May - Thinks Idolise is ready to win in race 4 Gerald O'Reilly - Likes King Of Strathfield to upset Stent in race 6 Sam Ottley - Rates Lovemetwotimes a big chance from barrier one in race 7 Terry Chmiel - Gives Betabcool a big tick in race 8    Invercargill - Friday Afternoon Clark Barron - Reckons Run Fatboy Run is overdue a winning turn in race 5 Brendon McLellan - Thinks Vera's Delight is due a change of luck in race 6 Nathan Williamson - Thinks Costa Del Magnifico will make a winning debut in race 8 Shane Walkinshaw - Very keen on first starter Jetsdream to win race 8 as well   Alexandra Park - Friday Night  Tony Herlihy - Likes Red Sky Night even from the second row in race 2 Steven Reid - Really rates Sirius Star to win race 3 Todd Macfarlane - Thinks Concorde can go one better than his debut second, also in race 3 Maurice McKendry - Rates The Royal Charger a big chance with the aid of the mobile in race 4 Josh Dickie - Very very bullish about the chances of Voluntad in race 5 John Curtin (Harnesslink) - Rates Irish Whisper a big chance to win fresh up in race 6 Scott Phelan - Thinks Le Lua Invasion is overdue a win in race 9   Methven - Sunday Afternoon John Dunn - Thinks Highview Freddy can use barrier one to win race 1 Blair Orange - Rates McArdle Star from the on fire Ken Barron barn as also hard to beat in race 1 Matt Williamson - Reckons Davey's Gift is well overdue and should win race 2 Steve Richardson (TAB) - Rates the locally owned and trained Golden Desire a big chance in race 4 Brad Williamson - Thinks his fathers trained horse Kylie Castleton can win race 5   Harnesslink Media  

Last week threw up four winners with Maurice McKendry, James Stormont, Blair Orange and Matthew Williamson tipping out winners why six others were in the money which is not a bad effort. This week we have three meetings again and hopefully we have again passed on the good oil. Cambridge - Thursday night Maurice McKendry - Thinks Hughie Green in race 4 will be very hard to beat. Sean McCaffrey - Confident that stable runner Strawberry Miss will go close in race 5 Todd Macfarlane - Thinks Hudy Huxwell back left handed is a big chance in race 6 John Curtin (Harnesslink) - Looking for David Butcher to strike with Bute Mach in race 7 Peter Scaife - Bad draw and all,rates Mach Cullen a good chance in race 7  Tony Herlihy - Likes Downunder Stride to make a winning debut in race 8   Addington - Friday night Terry Chmiel - Thinks Gyrate is overdue to win a race and is a big chance in race 3 Steve Richardson (TAB) - Likes Indiana Jones in race 4 after last week's great run Ricky May - Sticking with Crackapaca in race 5 after her huge run last week Gerald O'Reilly - Very keen on Zin Zan in race 6 after his big finish last week Blair Orange - Rates Oasis Dream a winning chance in race 10   Oamaru - Sunday Cran Dalgety - Thinks stable runner Uaintseennothinyet is a big chance in race 2 Matthew Williamson - Is very keen on Smokin Bird making it two from two in race 4 Nathan Williamson - Rates Tas Man Bromac a big chance to upset Smokin Bird in the same race Brad Williamson - Thinks The Silver Fox is a big chance in race 6 Sam Ottley - Rates Sterns Arising a chance to go three in a row in race 8   Harnesslink Media

Whenever you are assessing a trotting race at any harness racing meeting in New Zealand, the first thing to check for is the name of Phil Williamson as trainer alongside any of the runners names. You can guarantee that any of Phil's runners will be well educated and ready to rumble. That was the reality facing punters at the first meeting of the new season at Invercargill today (August 10th) when Phil lined up Kylie Castleton in the Southland Harness Awards trot over 2200 meters from a stand. The 4 year old daughter of Majestic Son has a reputation as a progressive horse courtesy of some smart trial performances prior to starting her racing career. Away safely from barrier three, driver and owner Brad Williamson sent Kylie Castleton to the front after 300 meters and from that point the race was in safe keeping. With Brad sitting as quiet as a church mouse,Kylie Castleton coasted down to the line for an easy win. She trotted the 2200 meters from a stand in 2;58.3 in the cold conditions, a mile rate of 2:10.4 with closing sectionals of 61.1 and 30.2 Kylie Castleton is bred to be good as she is from the Sundon mare Castleton's Jewel ($20,836) who is a full sister to Castletons Mission ($237,242) and a half sister to Castleton's King ($115,395). The third dam of Kylie Castleton is a half sister to none other than the former champion trotter  Sir Castleton ( 44 wins) ($302,043) It was a real Williamson family occasion as not only does Phil train Kylie Castleton, but she is owned and was driven by his son Brad and was bred by his wife Bev. Going by todays win, there are plenty more in store for this talented mare.   

Oamaru Raceway could have easily been mistaken for the North Pole today. Not only was it was it freezing cold but Father Christmas was there. And, like every Decemeber, he didn’t disappoint. After starting from the unruly, Father Christmas and driver Brad Williamson looped the field three wide with cover with a lap to go, before surging to the front down the back straight. He then kicked strongly in the home straight to hold off a late challenge from Foreverman. Little Bro was a further two lenghts away in third. The Phil Williamson trained three-year-old, who was greeted in the winners’ circle by a syndicate of owners wearing Santa hats, has now won three of his six starts and placed on a further two occasions. However, had it not been for a couple of mistakes his record could be even more impressive. “Phil (Williamson) has always had a big opinion of him and he seems to be getting more full-proof all the time,” said wife Bev Williamson. “We think he has a pretty big future and he should still get better as he is only three,” she added. By top French stallion Love You, Father Christmas was bred to be good and should continue to get even better. He hails from a family of smart trotters including Dependable, Jo Anne, Shirley Temple, Ima Gold Digger, and Doctor Mickey. Meanwhile, junior reinswomen Samantha Ottley and Kimberly Butt both won two races on the card today and tied for first in the Streamline Freight Drivers Challenge. Kim was successful aboard the Tim Butt trained Pantheon and the Robbie Holmes trained Lurah, who provided her with not only her first double but also her first outside win “Before today I had only ever driven winners for Tim Butt (uncle) and Mark Jones (employer-second cousin),” explained Butt. Ottley was victorious aboard Valmagne and Joe The Hunter and now has a four win lead in the Junior Drivers Premiership over northern reinsman Sailesh Abernethy. By Mitchell Robertson

Phil Williamson must have been one of the proudest men on the planet last night as he watched his three sons drive the winners of half the card at Forbury Park. One of New Zealands best conditioners of a trotter for over twenty years, Phil has taken a backseat in recent years on the driving front as he looked to give his sons the opportunity to establish themselves in their own right. It would have been hard for Nathan, Matthew and Brad to have had a better mentor than their father who has long been regarded as one of New Zealands premier drivers, especially of trotters. Last night was just another example of how well they have all progressed. Nathan, who took up training in the 2010 season, had the added highlight last night of training the three winners he drove . Matthew chipped in with another two winners, while Brad who is a junior driver rounded out the half dozen with a win aboard the C1 trotter Jellybean, which is trained by none other than his father. Not only have the Williamson boys been doing the business on the track, but they have been great role models off the track as well and a real credit to their parents,Phil and Bev. DRIVING                               SEASON 13/14                                       LIFETIME PHIL                                                1                                                          321 NATHAN                                         64                                                        461 MATTHEW                                      66                                                        409 BRAD*                                             31                                                         67 *Currently lies third on New Zealand Junior Drivers list for winners 13/14 season TRAINING                              SEASON 13/14                                        LIFETIME PHIL                                                35                                                             400 NATHAN                                        30                                                               84 If those numbers above show anything it is that the name Williamson will continue to be one associated with success.        Harnesslink media                         

Top junior horsewoman Samantha Ottley crept within one win of Sailesh Abernethy in the Junior Drivers’ premiership when guiding Secret Lotion to victory at Nelson yesterday. In doing so, she also notched up her first win for Robert and John Dunn, after recently joining forces with the powerful Woodened Beach stable. “Colin (DeFilippi) is pretty quiet at the moment so he had a chat to John Dunn and suggested that I go and work for them for a while to increase my chances of winning the Junior Drivers’ premiership,” said Ottley. ”I am very grateful to Colin and Julie and of course the Dunns for giving me this opportunity,” said Ottley. “It’s my last season as a junior so it’s now or never as far as winning the premiership goes,” she added. Ottley now sits on 38 wins for the season with North Island reinsman Saliesh Abernethy on 39. Brad Williamson currently sits in third with 29 wins to date. “I really wouldn’t be where I am today without the help of Colin (DeFillipi),”advised Ottley. “He has been my mentor and continues to help me achieve the best results possible,” she enthused. The Dunns have done a bit of a swap with the DeFilippi stable and have sent junior horsewoman Loren Lester to work for DeFilippi stable during Ottley’s absence. “I just hope it works out well for everyone in the finish,” concluded Ottley. Meanwhile, the Nelson Winter Cup Prelude, was taken out by Beckinsale, who clung on win over the fast-finish Fifth Edition at odds of $38.30 and $7.40. Other impressive winners on the day included debut maiden winners Wesley Silcox and Robbie Burns, both whom should have no problems measuring up in C1 company on Sunday. By Mitchell Robertson

Geoff and Jude Knight continued their great association with claiming races when they trifected the Claimers’ Championship Series mobile at Forbury Park last night. The race was taken out by the eight-year-old Knight trained gelding, Cullen’s Finest, who dived up the passing lane to win by a length and a quarter in the hands of regular stable driver Matthew Williamson. 10-year-old pacer Hi Gun finished in second, while the youngest member of the Knight’s trio, The Witch Doctor (5), finished third. Cullen’s Finest, who has been claimed in and out of the Knight’s Roxburgh barn on multiple occasions, has now won 12 of his 125 starts. “After he got claimed out of the barn last time I advised the owners not to claim him back but they went against me,” said Knight. “It’s a good thing they did because he has won two of his last three starts and finished second in the other,” he laughed. However, while the Geoff and Jude Knight trained trio finished at the head of the field, Omakau trainer Lionel Sinnamon wasn’t quite so fortunate with both his runners being pulled out of the event. At the 900 metre mark, Rome, who was racing fiercely, broke his bit, leaving a screaming Rory Mcllwrick with virtually no control over the gelding. Luckily, Brad Williamson, who was driving Rome’s stablemate Del Sur, saved the day by grabbing hold of Rome and taking him to the outside of the track when his charge began to tire around the final bend. Meanwhile, Westwood Beach trainer Grahame Anderson enjoyed a good night at the office winning three races on the card. The most notable of them was the Forbury Sprint Series Final, which was taken out by Highview Anxwell, who has taken a real liking to the 1200 metres, winning both of her heats as well as last night’s final. Anderson’s other two winners were, King Kenny, who returned to the winners circle for the first time in over a year, and capable pacer Belkmyster. By Mitchell Robertson

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