Pembrook Playboy pounces late

By Jonny Turner

Giving away a fitness edge and headstart to his rivals could not stop Pembrook Playboy from unleashing a stunning sprint to win the Central Otago Cup at Winton on Wednesday.

Being first up since the New Zealand Cup Carnival did not matter nor did being held up with nowhere to go until late in the run home as the four-year-old downed a classy field in the group 3 feature.

The victory delivered Nathan Williamson his first group race trophy as a trainer and he only had himself to thank for completing the feat after crucially finding clear running in the straight to allow Pembrook Playboy to unleash his brilliant finish.

“He went super,” Williamson said.

“I was held up, held up all of the way up the straight.”

“But once he got out he showed a great bit of acceleration and found the line great.

Yesterday’s win cemented Pembook Playboy’s status as Southland’s best open grade pacer.

Williamson puts his entire’s brilliance down to the way he effortlessly glides over the track.

“He is such an easy gaited horse, he gets along like he is doing it pretty easy.”

“I was rapt with the way he finished off.”

Without having started since November, there is clearly improvement to come from Pembrook Playboy once he is race hardened.

The prospect of the horse stripping even fitter in his next start in next week’s Invercargill Cup should be a scary thought for the connections of his rivals.

Just two races later Williamson unleashed another of his stable stars for another brilliant win.

Ragazzo Mach shrugged off doing mid-race work on a testing Winton track testing before powering away from his rivals to win by an incredible nine and three-quarter lengths.

“They are two lovely horses, its great coming to the races with heavy artillery like them,” Williamson said.

“[Ragazzo Mach] is going great too and I am looking forward to bigger features with him, too.”

Big money offers came from Western Australia to buy Ragazzo Mach’s in the lead up to yesterday’s race.

Owner Neville Cleaver eventually decided on keeping his rising star after negotiations dragged on.

“It is always lovely having a horse like him in the stable,” Williamson said.

“But it is Neville’s call, as you could imagine it is a lot of money.”

“He is a lovely horse to have around, so I don’t mind keeping him for a bit longer.”

Ragazzo Mach stopped the clock in 2:58.2 in his 2400m win, registering a faster time than Pembrook Playboy’s 3:00.2 victory.

Both Ragazzo Mach and Pembrook Playboy were both selected at the National Yearling Sales by Williamson.

Pembrook Playboy now looks a bargain $28,000 purchase for his owner Chris Alcock.

Williamson will undoubtedly be running his keen eye over this year’s crop of yearlings due to go under the hammer at both Karaka and Christchurch next month.


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