A rising star

NZ HARNESS NEWS

Vintage Cheddar looks set to cement his status as one of southern harness racing’s rising stars in Saturday’s Gore Grass track Cup.

The Alister Black-trained pacer produced a crushing first up win at Wyndham last weekend in his seasonal debut.

The performance impressed driver Brad Williamson, and instantly sent the pacer to the top of his list of favourite drives.

“He gave me such a good feel, and he won so easy.

“It was such a good field, there were half a dozen horses in there that were really nice horses, and he just dealt to them.

“He is definitely one to follow through the season.”

Williamson said the horse’s connections were hopeful of qualifying Vintage Cheddar for the Harness Jewels at Addington later this season.

“He will need to win a couple of country cup-type of races to do that, but I think he is good enough to do that.”

Vintage Cheddar has shown promise throughout his career, and has now developed into a complete racehorse.

“In his early starts he was a bit green and used to get on a rein a bit and pace a bit roughly at times.

“But now his manners are a hell of a lot better and he seems to have worked it all out and he is a lot easier to drive.

“He has turned in to a really nice racehorse.”

Williamson said Saturday’s grass track conditions are the only question he has about Vintage Cheddar scoring back-to-back wins.

“It was his first stand last time and he stepped away really well, so I wouldn’t be worried about that.

“The grass is the only wee query, whether he can sprint up like he can on the grit – that is a wee bit of an unknown.”

Williamson has a small, but strong book of six drives on the Gore card.

He could have made it seven drives had he not engaged brother Matthew to drive Zoned Scarlett in race 3.

Matthew drove the mare in to fifth placing in her last start at Wyndham.

“Matty has been getting on well with her; he has had three or four drives on her and been in the money [nearly] every time.”

Thisladyrocks starts for Williamson’s stable in race 4.

From barrier 1 on the second row, her fate rests in the hands of where the horse drawn in front of her, Rakabeamer, lands in the early running.

“The draw is the biggest problem with her; she is bouncing out of the ground at the moment.

“I gave her a quiet trial during the week and she got home nicely, and I think she is in the zone.

“The draw is pretty rough, so she is going to need a lot of luck.”

Williamson drives Allandale in race 11 for Omakau trainer Lionel Sinnamon.

The horse ran a big race for third in his last start on grass at Cromwell.

“He will be suited to the grass, and if they roll along at a good pace, he won’t give it up.”

Williamson also drives outside hope Gabby’s Star in race 8 for Sinnamon, as well as steering Our Gracie in the feature trot.

The trotter looks hard-pressed to beat stablemate Jen Jaccka, Williamson said.

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