Blue and gold invasion at Ascot Park
By Jonny Turner
Catching Otago’s star three-year-olds Cracker Hill and Spirit Of St Louis looks an almost impossible task for their opposition at Ascot Park on Saturday.
Cracker Hill looks as closest thing to a racecourse certainty since lockdown ahead of his clash off level marks from behind the mobile in race 7.
A 20m handicap looks far from enough to stop Spirit Of St Louis when he has his first run since March in race 8, the meeting’s feature handicap pace.
Trainer-driver Brad Williamson has Cracker Hill ready to rumble following his epic homestraight duel with Matua Tana at Addington four weeks ago.
Matua Tana has gone on to notch a hat-trick of wins making Cracker Hill’s three-wide effort look even better.
“I gave him plenty of time to get over that, because it was a pretty hard run,” Williamson said.
“Obviously the form has been franked with Matua Tana going on to bigger and better things.”
“That was pleasing to see him do a super job after beating us.”
Most of Cracker Hill’s rivals will have a race fitness edge on him, but that should be no match for the three-year-olds class.
Their best hope of beating him is if the favourite gallops out of contention, which looks a faint hope at best.
“His manners are pretty good and they should hold him in good stead throughout his whole career,” Williamson said.
“If he brings his A-game on Saturday he should be pretty hard to beat.”
Spirit Of St Louis showed he had lost none of his brilliant speed when reeling off a fast last 800m in his only public appearance leading in to race 8.
The Graeme Anderson trained three-year-old ran a 56.2sec split at the Oamaru trials two weeks ago.
Cracker Hill is not the only winning chance among Williamson’s ten drives at Saturday’s meeting.
The reinsman will reunite with the Phil Williamson trained Day Dreamin in race 4.
The 4yr-old who a well beaten second behind impressive winner Miss Crazed at Ascot Park last weekend.
Day Dreamin faces a similar dilemma tomorrow, clashing with another of her stablemates in Springbank Mason.
“She is a winning chance – take the winner out of it last week and she has beaten the rest nicely enough,” Williamson said.
“Springbank Mason is a handy looking maiden and will be hard to beat.”
“There are two or three in there with good winning chances and I think Day Dreamin is one of them.”
Jacks N Jazz looks a strong winning chance for Williamson after his big effort to run third behind Payment Plan at Ascot Park last weekend.
The Geoff and Jude Knight trained 6yr-old fought on strongly despite sitting parked throughout.
“He seems to race really well in the wet that fella, he ploughed through it so easily, sitting parked didn’t seem to worry him.”
“If it is a wet day on Saturday he will be hard to beat.”
Rin Tin Tin in race 2 and Longueval in race 11 are also among Williamson’s winning chances.
Rin Tin Tin ran a good third behind in a chaotic race won by Braeview Kelly last weekend.
Barrier four on the second row of the mobile is Williamson’s main concern ahead of Saturday’s event.
Longueval has an excellent draw in barrier 2 as he looks to bounce back from a shock failure against in hot maiden field in race 11.
Williamson also drives Kagee VC in race 1, Coolhand Easton in race 4, The Peaky Blinder in race 5, Whata Razzle Dazzle in race 8 and Rake in race 10.