News

Punters got it wrong

NZ HARNESS NEWS

Two runners debuted at Forbury Park on Sunday, both in the same race, and punters went for the wrong one.

All the money in the Just Essence Pace was on the Cran Dalgety-trained three-year-old Link To Collect in the hands of Dexter Dunn. But victory went to the less fancied five-year-old Schnapps, who had spent much of his three and four year-old seasons running with the hacks on his co-owner's farm, and qualified at Gore just a week before the race.

He was driven by Matthew Williamson who bagged four to double his tally of wins for the season.

A son of Changeover and Shining Cloud, Schnapps is trained at Gore by Tony Stratford for his partner Dawn Wilson and his uncle Alan Steel, who farms at Waikaka. Stratford paid $10,000 for the then colt after being impressed by him at the 2014 Premier Sale.

“He was a spec buy,” Stratford recalled. “I liked the way he walked round the ring, the Changeovers were new then and no one was bidding on him, I decided to take the risk.”

Stratford gave Schnapps a couple of workouts as a three-year-old and was happy enough with him, but thought time would be his best friend.

“He was big and weak so we turned him out, most of the time on the farm, thankfully we've waited. He's the nicest mannered horse, everyone's best friend, I hope he'll measure up to the next grade but we won't know till we've tried.”

Schnapps posted 2:46.1 when winning by a nose from My Nikayla with Link to Collect three lengths away in third place.

Williamson went back to back winning The Park Event & Function Centre Pace aboard Martin McGuinness. The six-year-old is trained at Mataura by Lyndon Bond and two of his four wins have been at Forbury Park. Later Williamson made it three when Articulight won the Congratulations Katrina & Brendon Wedding Pace.

After watching the early fireworks from back in the field, Williamson made his move leaving the back straight, found the front easily and lasted by three-quarters of a length.

His fourth came when Stylish Duke led for the last 2200 metres of Dutchie Trot.

Blair Orange took the other two trots on Lundqvist and Sheza Trendy Monarch, then made it three on Hypervelocity.