Sand Wave ready for Wairio Cup tilt

by Jonny Turner
Two of Southland’s star pacers are set for a battle royal in the Wairio Cup at Winton on Saturday.

Open class stars Sand Wave and Macandrew Aviator have taken different paths into being the headline acts in Wairio’s annual 2400m feature.

Macandrew Aviator comes into the clash fit and firing following his Northern Southland Cup win last week.

Sand Wave hasn’t raced since beating a much lesser-assessed field at Gore late last month.

Despite his lack of recent racing, the New Zealand Derby placegetter is likely to strip in better order than in his last start win.

Sand Wave disappointed in the Group One Invercargill Cup prior to his Gore win, a performance trainer-driver Nathan Williamson has had time to reflect on.

“I don’t think he was quite at his best in his last two runs on reflection,” Williamson said.

“Sometimes when they have been racing at the elite level you can get to the bottom of well even though he seemed his usual self.”

“He has had ten days off since then and I have been very happy with him.”

The Wairio Cup is far from a two-horse race, especially considering both Sand Wave and Macandrew Aviator start from 35m handicaps.

But the race’s smaller field and the great standing start ability of both horses look strong factors in the favour of the back markers.

Sand Wave is one of several key drives which could see Nathan Williamson edge towards 1000 driving wins in New Zealand.

Onwardsandupwards looks a strong winning chance for the trainer-driver in race 6.

The mare moves to the best draw of her short career in barrier 2 and her trainer is hopeful she can make use of it.

“She went a good race last week, she was hitting the line good,” Williamson said.

“She should be building all the time.”

“I haven’t asked her to go out of the gate, but I think she will go out OK.”

Amass in race 8 looks a genuine eachway threat though he has copped a wide draw.

“Like Sand Wave he is coming in without a trial.”

“He is best driven with a sit at this stage of his career.”

“I am sure he will go a good race.”

Star trialist Tact McLeod looks the standout among Williamson’s outside drives.

The Trevor Proctor trained pacer looks the horse to beat in race 3.

“His trial form has been very good but he has to step up and do it at the races.”

“He has the ability there, so he should be pretty hard to beat.”

Simone Lindenny and Rightazz both look eachway chances for Williamson, too.

Janaka's Delight, Justine Jaccka and Hangin With Hector are also among a strong book that should see the reinsman edge closer to his 1000-win milestone.

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