Race tempo key for Pembrook Playboy
By Jonny Turner
Exactly how Pembrook Playboy handles his massive 50m handicap in Saturday’s Riverton Cup is in the hands of the racing gods.
Trainer-driver Nathan Williamson goes into the race knowing plenty of certainties with his classy five-year-old.
Pembrook Playboy is clearly the class horse of the field and he’s fit and ready to put in a big effort. Just yesterday he was confirmed as a starter for "The Race" at Cambridge on April 14. He's been signed by Dunstan Feeds for the brand new slot race.
Today the unknown is in that mystery that plagues punters across the world every day – how exactly will the race pan out?
“He is going to need things to go away a little bit, he is going to need to step away fast for a start,” Williamson said.
“Then it is just a matter of how the race is run.”
A fast early tempo will make it hard for Pembrook Playboy to make up his back mark quickly.
But if the speed is too fast in the middle stages, there is the chance the leaders will come back to the backmarkers.
The biggest asset Williamson has regardless of how the race plays out is his pacer’s incredible all-round game.
“He has got all the attributes there, he has got speed and he can do work if we need to get around them.”
“That is going to be a big help.”
“He was beaten fair in square in his last start, but I was still very happy with him and he has derived good benefit from that run.”
Williamson was beaten narrowly by Alta Wiseguy, first up in his return from injury in the Invercargill Cup. Among the host of horses much better off than the favourites in the handicaps for Saturday’s feature is last start winner, Macandrew Aviator.
From his 20m mark, the in-form pacer gets his chance to beat Pembrook Playboy.
MacAndrew Aviator gained a deserved victory at Wyndham last weekend after solid fourth and fifth placings in the Group Three Invercargill and Northern Southland Cups.
Trainer Kirstin Barclay wouldn’t usually back the horse up less than a week after a run but the pacer is thriving and he also gets a chance to qualify for the Southern Country Cups Final.
“He has been going really well in stronger fields and he has been so consistent,” Barclay said.
“He never used to get through the races too good, but has been handling the racing very well.”
“He has strengthened up a bit.”
Warloch has been just as good if not better than Macandrew Aviator in Ascot Park’s recent Group Three events with his third and fourth placings.
But he has just a 20m head start on Pembrook Playboy compared to Macandrew Aviator’s 30m.
The D T Kings Transport Riverton Cup is due to go at 3.17 pm.