Nathan Williamson joins 1000 win club

by Jonny Turner

Nathan Williamson etched his name into harness racing’s history books the same way he began his career when scoring his 1000th driving win in New Zealand with Janaka’s Delight at Ascot Park yesterday.

Williamson’s incredible success in the sport started when driving the maiden trotter Brooker to victory at Forbury Park in August of 2005.

The star reinsman joined his brother Matthew Williamson in New Zealand’s 1000 win club when expertly handling another maidener in Janaka’s Delight.

Win number one came in his father Phil Williamson’s colours while win number 1000 came in the silks of Williamson’s good friend Brett Gray.

Though recently it has been clear that Williamson’s achievement was a formality given his age and his incredible skill, 1000 wins was something of a dream for the boy from Oamaru who was just starting out in 2005.

“You dream of these sorts of things – to get as far as 1000 wins or even a 100 when you start off,” Williamson said.

“I am really proud to do it here and it is great to do it for Brett – he’s a good mate.”

Williamson’s wife Katie and their children were on hand to celebrate yesterday’s achievement.

The reinsman’s fellow trainers and drivers got right behind the moment too – waiting in the birdcage wearing t-shirts dedicated to Williamson’s 1000 wins.

“It is great, I have got the wife and family coming in today to share in it.”

“I just couldn’t be happier, it is a beautiful day – what else could you ask for.”

Born and bred in North Otago, Williamson’s milestone victory came in the province he now calls home after cementing himself as Southland's leading trainer and driver.

Southland’s first-ever member of the 1000 win club Clark Barron was on hand to welcome Williamson into the select group yesterday.

As was long-time member and New Zealand’s most winning driver Tony Herlihy.

Williamson and brother Matthew are the fourth brothers to win 1000 races each in New Zealand joining Colin and the late Mike DeFilippi, John and Dexter Dunn and Clark and Ken Barron.

Williamson’s 1000 win tally includes two Group One victories with Jasmyn’s Gift and Springbank Richard which are among a total of 23 group and listed race wins.

 

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