Muscle Mountain back and winning
By Jonny Turner
Smart trotter Muscle Mountain began his 3yr-old season just like he started his 2yr-old term when winning the Orari Challenge Stakes on Saturday.
The Greg And Nina Hope trained gelding got his sophomore season off to the perfect start when beating a smart line up to win the first 3yr-old trotting feature of the season.
With regular stable drivers Ricky May and Ben Hope sidelined it was left to Matthew Williamson to partner Muscle Mountain and the reinsman made the most of the one off opportunity.
“With Ben being suspended it was a bit of a one off drive, so it was good to be able to win with him,” Williamson said.
“He is a nice trotter and he should go on with it after today and be in for a big season.”
Williamson gave Muscle Mountain a perfect run in the one-one throughout behind his stablemate, Midnight Dash.
Midnight Dash rallied hard in the straight, but was eventually overhauled by Muscle Mountain to secure a Hope trained quinella.
“He did it easy enough, but I did have to hold him together down the straight,” Williamson said.
Muscle Mountain’s task was made slightly easier when several of the leading chances in the race galloped.
One Majic Kenny botched the mobile score up before recovering to go a big race and run fourth.
The favourite, Tailored Elegance, galloped when challenging in the home straight.
The Hope stable took out another of the trotting races at Orari on Saturday when Bev K’s One broke her maiden.
Williamson will attempt to keep his winning form up at Wyndham on Sunday.
The reinsman rates the Hamish Hunter trained Holy Havoc in race 5 as the leading chance among his nine drives.
“He went a pretty good race for fifth on Thursday and has a nice draw in one.”
“He should get every hope and be a pretty good chance.”
Williamson also drives I’m Watching You in race 2, Tartan Robyn in race 8 and Stingray Tara in race 9 for Hunter.
The reinsman said each were good eachway hopes, without looking standouts in their races.
Punters look to be banking on Williamson to turn around the fortunes of Delight N Gold in race 6.
He is the new pilot of the Earl Swain trained mare, who opened at remarkably short $2 win odds in the race’s fixed odds market.
Delight In Gold brings patchy form to a race almost without any strong exposed form.
“She is in the right field and has gone some good races before.”
“Hopefully she can improve and she would be a chance.”
Williamson drives Slainte in race 1 and Monty Python in race 4 for his father, Phil.
“Monty Python is an eachway chance, but it will be hard for him off 45m.”
“He hasn’t been going too bad and he is slowly getting back to his best.”
“Slainte would be a good chance if he did everything right, but that is no certainty.”
Williamson also drives Bub’s VC in race 3 and Jacks N Jazz in race 10.