Cracker Hill set for Addington opener

By Jonny Turner

A Saturday text led to a bonus for Addington, but took the shine out of what was set to be an exciting winter for trainer-driver Brad Williamson.

Williamson had spent the country’s hiatus from harness racing preparing his star 3yr-old Cracker Hill for a tilt at the Victoria Trotter’s Derby.

Flight and accommodation arrangements had been made for the Hambletonian Classic winner ahead of the A$75,000 feature, which was to be run on August 2.

The extension on the Australian harness racing season to end on December 31 has resulted in the annual Redwood Trotting being rescheduled.

“I had been setting the horse for a crack at the Victoria Trotters Derby since Covid started,” Williamson said.

“He was to have had a pretty big end of his season – well that was what I was picking, anyway.”

“But, it was hard to plan things over here, so I thought I would take him to Australia.”

“He was all booked to go and then yesterday I got a text from Brent Lilley, who the horse would be staying with, to say the race had been moved to November.”

Cracker Hill pleased Williamson with his effort for third behind Majestic Connies and The Dominator at Saturday’s Oamaru trials.

“He trialled super, I was really happy with him.”

“He ran to the line nice, with his earplugs in.”

Williamson now has a horse on his hands that is fit and on song for a group 1 tilt in just over a month.

The scenario is disappointing for the trainer and his owners, but is set to provide a boost for Addington.

Williamson will take his star performer to the first post Covid-19 meeting at the track on Friday night.

Cracker Hill was among the first batches of horses in both Otago and Southland that stepped out at trials for the first time publicly since the Covid-19 lockdown.

Both trial meets were dominated by the Williamson family.

Brad produced both Rydgemont Son and Rin Tin Tin to win at Oamaru on Saturday.

The talented, but sometimes wayward Rydgemont Son pleased his trainer-driver with a faultless display over 2600m.

“I was really happy with him.”

“Obviously he had got a lot of ability, but his manners have let him down.”

“But he stepped away nice and trotted really well, so I was very pleased with him.”

“He will go to the first meeting at Invercargill on Saturday – there is a 2200m stand for him.”

Rin Tin Tin, a three-start maiden pacer, also scored at Oamaru on Saturday.

“He won nice and easy, he didn’t run any great time or beat the strongest field.”

“But, he trialled up like he would be a chance of winning a maiden at some stage.”

Phil Williamson’s team took out four of Saturday’s trials with Springbank Mason, Miss Crazed, Jimmy Carter and Majestic Connies.

The trainer’s star 3yr-old, Ultimate Stride, ran second to Rydgemont Son in his first public outing since last August.

Matthew Williamson also produced Flossie, who will race at Invercargill on Saturday, for a pacing trial victory.

Nathan Williamson was in fine form at the first Southland trial meeting since harness racing was put on hold.

He produced Flight Crew, Longueval and Major Watsons for wins at Ascot Park on Friday.

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