Ragazzo Mach shows true class
By Jonny Turner
The real Ragazzo Mach stood up and showed his true worth in a dazzling performance to win the Group 2 Southern Supremacy Stakes at Ascot Park on Sunday.
Circumstances and barrier draws meant the colt’s new West Australian owners went into the 2700m feature after having to watch their half-million-dollar purchase run down the track in both the New Zealand Derby and its traditional lead-up the Flying Stakes.
Trainer-driver Nathan Williamson hadn’t lost any faith in Ragazzo Mach following those efforts and the flourish of his whip as he crossed the line more than five lengths in front of the field showed how much it meant to him that the best version of the pacer was on display on Diamonds Day.
“He did it really easy,” Williamson said.
“His two runs up the road at Addington – we weren’t quite on top of our game and obviously we were against the very elite there, too.”
“He ran 3.17 today and he could have gone around again, I think he proved that he is a really top horse.”
Ragazzo Mach’s 3.17.8 winning time set a new race record for the 2700m editions of the Southern Supremacy Stakes and a new Ascot Park three-year-old pacing colts and geldings track record.
Williamson was back in the winner’s circle again soon after, also with another red hot favourite.
But the circumstances and the margin were not quite as expected when Pembrook Playboy took out the Southern Country Cups final.
Williamson’s brother Matthew produced a brilliant front-running drive on Deus Ex that meant Pembrook Playboy had to call on his class to take out the 2700m feature.
“Matty was smart, I was getting a nice run but off the end of the back straight he tried to pinch a bit of a break.”
“I was lucky that I had a horse good enough to reel him in.”
Just one target remains on Pembrook Playboy’s agenda this season in the Harness Jewels.
Sunday’s race may have been the four-year-old’s last ahead of the huge day at Cambridge.
“There is a free-for-all at Addington, I could start him there on the way through.”
“We will just have to assess things and see how he is.”
Matthew Williamson had earlier produced another brilliant tactical drive on Diamonds Day to win the feature trot with the Phil Williamson trained Ultimate Stride.
The four-year-old powered away from his rivals after Williamson let former star juvenile loose at the 500m.
The victory put a surprisingly poor first-up effort behind Ultimate Stride and helped him secure valuable stakes money ahead of the Harness Jewels.
“He felt super the whole way, he ran 3.25 but it didn’t feel that hard,” Williamson said.
“The Jewels have probably gone back on the radar now.”
“Phil changed his shoeing after his last start at Wyndham, he trotted horrible there.”
“But we are back on track and hopefully we get to Cambridge.”
Brad Williamson added to an incredible Diamonds day for the Williamson family.
He combined with trainer Alister Black for wins with Ohoka Agent and Zaccy Mac, taking the Williamson haul to six Diamonds Day victories.