Hard for Ladd to be Humble

By Jonny Turner

Humble Ladd went to a new level with his winning double at the New Zealand Cup Carnival and he is ready to continue that brilliant form at Ascot Park today.

The Phil Williamson trained trotter was one of just two horses, alongside Southland pacer Vintage Cheddar, to win on both New Zealand Cup Day and Show Day.

Those victories have seen the six-year-old continue a steady rise from smart intermediate grade trotter to one that is effectively in open class.

Williamson puts Humble Ladd’s transition down to him benefitting from a combination of  having hard racing under his belt and having had time to strengthen. 

“I would say it is a bit of both,” the trainer said. 

“He is just a horse that has continued to improve.”

“This season he has come back really good.”

“Right back in his first start back from lockdown he ran second to Ultimate Stride and it was mighty run.”

“So, he has been going good for a while now.”

Humble Ladd starts from the 40m mark in race 7, today’s feature 2700m trot.

That gives him a 10m head start on his main rival, already established open class mare Dark Horse. 

Williamson thinks Humble Ladd’s handicap is within his winning range.

“On paper he has got to be hard to beat.”

The Williamson stable will roll out yet another smart trotter owned by Emilio and Mary Rosati in race 1 in Celebration Stride.

The three-year-old brings solid trial and workout form, having sparred with his smart stablemate Love N The Port several times.

Though the latest of Celebration Stride’s public appearances were back in June, Williamson has no concerns about the trotter’s fitness levels ahead of his debut.

“He is probably just better than those [rivals].”

“In saying that he didn’t race as a two-year-old because he just wasn’t quite up with the good two-year-olds.”

“At the time Leaf Stride would have been too good for him.”

“But he should be giving that field a hurry up.”

Celebration Stride looks to only need to trot throughout to beat the terribly out of form group of maidens he clashes with over 2200m.

And the horse’s manners suggest that should not be a problem.

“He has got good manners, that is the best thing about him,” Williamson said. 

The Williamson barn is hoping for improved manners from Miss Crazed in race 3.

The four-year-old has galloped in each of her three starts this time in.

Though she could have forgiven slightly for missing away in her last start after a horse jumped in front of her, Williamson was still unimpressed.

“It was just a horrific performance, but I am expecting Miss Crazed to step up and be the one to beat.”

Williamson expects Miss Bamboocha to be the hardest horse for Miss Crazed to hold out in her 2700m standing start assignment.

“Miss Bamboocha is not a bad horse, she is a bit in and out, but on her best day she can run a bit of a race.”

“But all things being equal Miss Crazed should smash them.”

Kerryn Tomlinson drives Miss Crazed in today’s race for junior drivers.

Matthew Williamson will drive both Humble Ladd and Celebration Stride. 

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