Cracker Hill out of Jewels
By Jonny Turner
Brad Williamson will do what is best for his stable star Cracker Hill by withdrawing him from the Harness Jewels.
The Oamaru squaregaiter will not head to Cambridge next month for the four-year-old trotters’ championship, which is still set to be of the most hotly contested Jewels events despite his withdrawal.
Cracker Hill was to have raced at Wyndham last month before suffering a minor knee injury, which set his autumn campaign back.
After that issue was rectified and the trotter returned to work he was still on track to head north.
However last week Williamson made the call to withdraw Cracker Hill after his work wasn’t quite where he would have liked it to be.
“It is nothing major, but we just want to do what is best for the horse,” the trainer-driver said.
Williamson will send Cracker Hill to the spelling paddock with one major target in mind for his next campaign.
The star trotter will be out to go one better than his second placing in the New Zealand Trotting Free-For-All when he returns to New Zealand Cup day later this year.
Cracker Hill’s withdrawal helps the Jewels hopes of another Williamson trotter in Ultimate Stride.
The Phil Williamson trained four-year-old bounced back to his best form in emphatic style when winning the feature trot on Diamonds Day at Ascot Park.
That victory took Ultimate Stride to 20th on the Harness Jewels leader board, which will become 19th following the withdrawal of Cracker Hill.
That places the four-year-old less than $1000 off the race’s top 12 with two weeks of qualifying left.
Ultimate Stride will be nominated for this week’s premier night at Addington and could charge up the Harness Jewels rankings with a victory.
Bolt For Brilliance and Muscle Mountain head qualifying rankings for the Four-Year-Old Ruby.
Muscle Mountain may not be seen at the races before the Queen’s Birthday weekend event.
The Greg and Nina Hope camp are likely to trial the four-year-old at Cambridge before the Jewels.
But it is undecided whether he will start in the north ahead of his Group One assignment.