Tairlaw Toll brilliant in big first up win

By Jonny Turner

A brilliant training performance from Carl Hanna had Tairlaw Toll ready to deliver a knockout blow at Ascot Park yesterday.

The pacer didn’t have the benefit of a trial or workout leading into his return to racing and he also did more work than his rivals when sitting parked in race 7.

But both of those factors mattered little when the towering pacer delivered an excellent fresh-up victory for driver Matthew Williamson, paying $14.40 and $3.20. 

Known as a tough type, Williamson drove the horse to his strengths to seal his impressive win.

“He is that type of horse, keep rolling even halves (800ms),” the reinsman said.

“He has enough speed bouncing off them, he likes to be put in the race and put the others on the canvas.”

Hanna was keen to duck out of the media spotlight following his outstanding training effort.

But Williamson didn’t hesitate to credit Hanna for his work to have Tairlaw Toll ready to win first up without a public trial.

“Carl knows this horse so well, he said he was super fresh.”

“He gave him a couple of private runs.”

“Arguably he was the best horse in the field before the race and he showed it.”

Williamson earlier scored with Speeding Spirit in race 1.

Oamaru trainer Ross Wilson admitted he felt a little bit of pressure when he lined up the first favourite of his training career yesterday.

But it was all worth it when Speeding Spirit put away his rivals in style amid wet and cold conditions.

Punters were keen on the trotter, backing him in from $2.80 to $2.30 in fixed odds betting in race 1.

Williamson soon found the lead with the four-year-old despite starting from a 30m back mark.

And once there, Speeding Spirit’s backers had little to worry about.

“He trots the bends really well, so only racing maidens I thought we would dispose of them on the home turn and put a hole in them,” Williamson said.

“He did that and he was strong to the line, he won really well.”

Speeding Spirit was a mistake maker earlier in his career, but never looked like putting a foot wrong yesterday showing his continued progress Wilson’s care.

“He has got a little bit of maturity now and he is in a good space – he is happy,” the trainer said.

Wilson races the trotter with son Jesse.

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