Is today the day for Nathan Williamson?

The stage is set for history to be made at Ascot Park on Sunday.

Leading Southland reinsman Nathan Williamson goes into the Riverton Trotting Club meeting on 999 career driving wins in New Zealand.

And the man affectionately known as ‘The Goat’ by his fellow trainers and drivers looks a massive chance of joining the highly prestigious 1000-win club.

Jonny Turner takes a look at Williamson’s strong book of drives and rates how likely each one is to add to the reinsman’s huge haul of wins in New Zealand.

Race 1 – Janaka’s Delight

This filly trotted throughout for the first time in her last start fourth at Winton and ran well.

As a maiden taking on race winners, albeit with a handicap advantage, it’s a tougher-than-usual challenge for her.

But she looks the type that could win a maiden race at short notice, so she’s in the mix here.

Race 2 – Sweet Nothings

There is sweet nothing about this filly’s raceday form to suggest she will need something other than a magical Nathan Williamson drive to win.

She trialled well before running an ordinary race in her last outing at Oamaru and she has moved stables since.

Everything considered, Sweet Nothings rates an outside chance in race 2.

Race 3 – Sherwood Maggie.

Her form doesn’t look flash but this mare can certainly foot it with this field.

She’s got a sweet draw (2) and an outstanding driver which are both massive plusses.

Sherwood Maggie has shown gate speed in the past, though not recently.

If she’s able to cross to the lead early she should take plenty of catching.

The mare rates a genuine eachway threat.

Race 4 – Emerald Abbey

She’s not a star but she lands in the right grade to make an impact if she can find her best form.

Unfortunately, Emerald Abbey hasn’t shown anything near her best recently, which is the concern going into race 4.

She’s not out of it but she looks just a rough chance of adding to the Williamson win total, especially when she has to face a hot favourite in Netherton Franco.

Race 5 – Smart I Am

On his efforts two and three starts ago he would be a genuine winning threat.

But Smart I Am was run off his feet by the impressive Tact McLeod in his last start at Winton.

A tidy workout since then suggests the horse can bounce back to his better form today.

The four-year-old rates a top 4 threat.

Race 6 – Ultimate Challenge

Though this is a deep line up, Ultimate Challenge looks a real winning threat.

She’s had three workouts to prepare for her return from a spell following an impressive debut victory.

The filly hasn’t drawn perfectly, but she’s inside a couple of her key rivals which looks a big help.

All things considered, Ultimate Challenge looks a huge winning chance for Williamson and if things don’t pan out earlier in the day she could be the one to help the reinsman to his 1000-win milestone.

Race 7 – Onwardsandupwards

Barrier 8 means both Williamson and this filly are probably going to have to earn victory in race 7.

But those who have seen enough of the reinsman’s 999 career wins will know a little bit of Williamson magic could easily turn this wide draw from a big hurdle into a tiny inconvenience.

On form, the mare rates the horse to beat on her recent second placings, which both came behind quality horses.

Onwardsandupwards rates a big winning threat.

Race 9 – Whata Razzle Dazzle

On ability Whata Razzle Dazzle has the motor to be able to win this, but on his recent form it looks just a rough chance of happening.

The Williamson touch might be the key to his form revival as the pair have got on well in the past.

But on face value, the veteran pacer looks just a rough chance.

Race 10 – Hangin With Hector

Williamson and his backers will be hoping the 1000 wins will be well and truly ticked off by race 10.

But it might build some incredible theatre if a fairytale milestone being completed in his home province rests with Hangin With Hector.

Especially considering the horse’s racing style – getting back and powering home.

His last start effort at Winton was simply outstanding and the only slight concern is the move to the tighter Ascot track.

Regardless, the four-year-old is a huge winning chance.


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