Tony Mac back with a bang

By Jonny Turner

Few horses deliver fresh-up performances as impressive as Tony Mac’s winning return at Winton on Thursday.

The three-year-old shrugged off the mid-race work he did sitting parked and left no excuses for his rivals in race 3 when powering to victory for driver Kerryn Tomlinson.

Put aside after just four starts for trainer Brad Williamson over summer, the trotter looks set for a big campaign judging by his win.

“He has been going pretty well at the trials and we have been pretty happy with him,” Williamson said.

“He has had three trials this time in to prepare for today’s race.”

“He qualified in behind the mobile only last week.”

“It was a really big run today I thought, sitting parked most of the way.”

“To still run a really nice time – 3.03 (for 2400m) – I was pretty happy with him.”

“He is a trotter that is getting a lot better.”

Tony Mac is a half-brother by Love You to Williamson’s stable star Cracker Hill who competed with the best of his age group as a two and three-year-old.

Cracker Hill is on the comeback trail after a knee issue halted his career.

The trotter was last at the races during the 2020 New Zealand Cup Carnival.

Williamson is in no rush to get the five-year-old back to the races, preferring to give the trotter a long, slow build up.

“Everything is fine with him, we are just taking things really slow with him.”

It is likely Tony Mac will get his shot at the late season features for three-year-olds on the new harness racing calendar, later in the year.

“Potentially, he is probably not up to the best ones just yet but we will definitely set him on that path in the summer.”

“I think he is good enough to warrant having a start.”

Tony Mac is the last horse raced by North Otago rugby and harness racing identity, the late Neville McNee, who died in February.

NcNee’s estate still holds a share in the trotter’s ownership.

NcNee raced several good horses and is a past president of the Oamaru Harness Racing Club, though he is best known for his achievements with the North Otago Rugby Team.


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