Stingray Tara to fly family flag
By Jonny Turner
Southland pacer Stingray Tara will attempt to fly his family’s flag at the Northern Southland Trotting Club meeting at Ascot Park today.
It has been left to the Hamish Hunter trained pacer to keep his family name up in lights following the retirement of his star full brother Tiger Tara, last month.
Stingray Tara goes in to race 1 after producing a win his brother would be proud of in his last start at Winton.
Sitting parked throughout a mile (1609m) event was not enough to stop the 4yr-old from producing a tough win for junior driver Kerryn Tomlinson.
Driver Matthew Williamson is looking forward to getting back in the sulky behind Stingray Tara after watching that effort from the side lines.
“It was a pretty big effort at Winton, if he could produce a run like that he would have to be hard to beat.”
Williamson will drive the first two favourites at today’s twilight meeting.
Slainte will start at short odds in race 2 after impressing in his trials for trainer Phil Williamson.
The horse started at Cromwell on Sunday, but was deemed a late scratching after suffering interference at the start.
“He has got the ability, but he is going to have to do things right to win,” Williamson said.
“We have made a couple of changes after Cromwell, so hopefully that will help him.”
The father and son combination of Phil and Matthew Williamson also start Only One Way in race 7.
The 4yr-old produced an emphatic win in his last start at Omakau and there looks little reason he can not continue his hot form in today’s 2700m feature handicap trot.
“He is going really well, but his is getting back in the handicaps,” Williamson said.
“He should still be a pretty good chance.”
Star Ruler is one of two strong chances Williamson drives for trainers Geoff And Jude Knight.
The 6yr-old went close at Cromwell on Sunday and looks well placed to win race 5, today.
“He seems to have lifted a bit lately, so he has to be a good chance,” Williamson said.
“He is a horse that will need the right run, though.”
Jacks N Jazz may have been an even stronger winning chance than his stablemate had he drawn the front line of the mobile.
Drawing barrier 1 on its second line means he will luck in race 8.
If he gets it, the 6yr-old can figure in the finish, Williamson said.
I’m Watching You is Williamson’s drive in race 6, a graduation final filled with talented types.
If the 3yr-old can not win today he will be a horse to follow when he returns to maiden grade, Williamson said.
Canterbury raiders Yossi, Folklore and Moonlite Drive look the horses to beat in the 2200m event.
Williamson drives Kingmaker, who takes on another talented line up in race 10, today’s fast class pace.
The Brad Mowbray trained pacer clashes with leading contenders Franco Santino, Bettathanfast and Cast No Shadow in the 2200m mobile.
Williamson also drives A Rocknroll Maid in race 3 and I Had A Dream in race 4 today.