Otago mare wins on opening night at Inters giving Williamson milestone
By Garrick Knight
A false start didn’t aid her one iota but Fanny Hill still managed to win the mid-grade trot on the opening night of the Inter Dominions at Alexandra Park.
The Oamaru mare, prepared by master trotting trainer Phil Williamson and driven by his son Brad, had to sit parked the last mile to get the win, but did it comfortably.
Superstar-in-waiting Tickle Me Pink thundered home down the outside for second after starting off a prohibitive 40-metre handicap.
But this was Fanny Hill’s night and Brad Williamson reckoned it took all her will power to be on her best behavior.
“She was bloody nervous after that false start; wasn’t calm or settled at all round at the start.
“But once we went away, she got a good run early and then relaxed well parked.
“So, I was happy to sit there the last lap.”
It was her first look at Alexandra Park and Williamson reported she took to it like a duck to water and that bodes well for upcoming assignments.
“She got her heart rate up and is having a good blow. Seems to get around the bends better this way too.
“She’s lowly-graded and that’s a big bonus.”
Just how far she’ll go remains to be seen but you would expect her to get close to open company with the team behind her and an elite sire.
“She has quite a bit of speed; is a real fast wee mare.
“Probably lacks a bit of real stamina despite what she did tonight, though.”
The understated Tony Herlihy was very happy with the run of Tickle Me Pink, fresh up since her excellent Harness Jewels win back in June.
“She’s gone super,” he said, which, in Herlihy-speak, is about as good as it gets.
Outsider Saint Michel battled on well for third at bolter’s odds, rewarding trifecta punters.
For Brad Williamson, the victory also marked his 300th in the sulky in New Zealand, his first, behind Graceandtemika, at Gore in 2012.