Winton Preview


Matthew Williamson’s super September could continue at Winton today (Thursday) as the Oamaru-based driver tries to build on his 12 wins for the month.

Williamson grabbed a double at Invercargill on Saturday, then drove three winners at Oamaru on Sunday to move to second on the premiership with 15 wins for the new season, nine behind leading driver Blair Orange and two ahead of Cambridge-based David Butcher.

He also nabbed four winners at Forbury on September 3 to boost his hopes of bettering his 71 wins last season.

Ironically, he experienced a mini-drought at the same time last year, failing to land a winner between August 15 and October 1.

Williamson has seven drives at Winton today and could shine early with the Brad Mowbray-trained mare Ultimate JJ in the first, who ran a solid third at Rangiora before copping a check at Methven 10 days ago.

“She got checked on the home turn and came home well. It’s a drop back from Canterbury company so she’s a good each-way chance. She’s gone two good races and is starting to turn the corner. ’’

He said Jacks N Jazz in the second was also a strong chance on his first-up run for second at Winton on September 7 for trainers Geoff and Jude Knight.

“He disappointed second-up (fourth) but went good first-up and if he repeats that will be hard to beat. He came home well that day and hopefully they have rectified whatever was going on. He can definitely win if he’s on his game.’’

He said maiden trotter Cuddly Trouble was up against it in the one-win grade in race three. 

“She’s a competitive maiden so watch her back in that grade.’’

Silver Dale in race four has trialled well, coming home in 57sec for his last 800m at Winton recently, and he rates it a winning chance.

“He’s a nice horse with a sit and is up to beating those horses.’’

Race five sees the The Maroon Marauder up against it in a smart maiden field with debutants Nota Bene Denario and The Heart Rulz expected to dominate the market.

The Heart Rulz, who debuts from Brett Gray’s barn, impressed when qualifying on the track on September 7 and driver Brent Barclay is keen on his chances. “He’s a pretty good horse in the making,” he said. 

Paddyproudfoot stormed home first-up and from the ace draw looks a major threat to the two debutants.

Williamson says the Mowbray-trained Gypsy’s Choice in race seven is his best drive.

“She can make her own luck and do a bit of mid-race work … she’ll be thereabouts. She drew wide last time and got back and came home good against a good field. This is a bit of a drop in class.’’

Highland Girl in the last would need luck and was a better stand-start horse, with the Orange-driven Rockaball, second last Saturday to Benio Ben, likely to be hot favourite after drawing the ace.