Williamson and Butt send Breeders Crown trophies to NZ

By Jonny Turner

Phil Williamson’s trotting genius helped the New Zealand flag fly proudly on Australasian Breeders Crown Finals night at Melton on Saturday.

Williamson led the charge for the kiwi contingent by producing blueblood trotters Liberty Stride and Ultimate Stride for emphatic victories.

Liberty Stride set the tone for a great night out for the New Zealanders when powering away from her opposition to win the group 1 3yr-old fillies final.

Williamson’s renown trotting skill shone through when the filly, who had galloped in two of her three Victorian starts, put in a faultless display to win by almost 20 metres for driver Anthony Butt. 

“It is a big thrill for us – massive,” Williamson said. 

“We are just so thrilled to come here and win nice races, it is not easy.”

“You do have to bring the right horses and if you have a nice horse this is what you can achieve.”

Williamson had put the finals night polish on his daughter of Muscle Hill and Jasmyns Gift at the Victorian stable of Brent Lilley and his partner Tracey Cullen.

Williamson revealed his Victorian venture had become far more than just a business trip. 

“I have been here for six weeks with [Brent], he has been a sensational host.”

“His partner Tracy is up at 4.15am feeding the horses and their little son Jack has allowed me in to their family.”

“I have just had a fantastic stay.”

Little more half an hour after Liberty Stride’s demolition job, Williamson produced Ultimate Stride for an even more emphatic group 1 victory.

The son of Love You and millionaire mare One Over Kenny embarrassed his Australian opposition when he ran away with the 2yr-old trotting colt’s and gelding’s final by nearly 40 metres. 

Ultimate Stride powered through tough conditions as rain and wind pelted the Melton track during the group 1 event.

And though his Australian opposition could not match him, Anthony Butt revealed that he could not get his charge to go any slower. 

“The conditions weren’t ideal.”

“He was getting pretty keen that first lap – I couldn’t get him going any slower. “

“He just wanted to get on with it, but he was very good, he smashed them.” 

The New Zealand contingent added a third Breeders Crown title to their haul in dramatic circumstances when Kratos was crowned the 3yr-old trotting colts and geldings winner in the enquiry room.

The John and Joshua Dickie trained squaregaiter was second past the post in a thrilling three-way finish with the winner, All Cashed Up, and third placegetter Majestuoso. 

All Cashed Up galloped late in the run home, but it was not just a case of waiting for the horse to be automatically relegated like he would have been under New Zealand rules for breaking over the line.

An enquiry was held to decide whether All Cashed Up had either had not gained an advantage or at least was unable to maintain his momentum when galloping.

Stewards ruled All Cashed Up had not complied with Australia’s breaking rules and Kratos was crowned the group 1 Breeders Crown champion. 

Earlier on the Melton card, star filly Princess Tiffany was defeated in a shock result in 3yr-old pacing fillies final.

Sitting parked throughout, and copping some minor interference before the home turn, took its toll on the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained 3yr-old when she was beaten in to third behind upset winner No Win No Feed.

Princess Tiffany was caught late by fellow New Zealander, Best Western, who continued her superbly consistent Breeders Crown campaign by finishing second. 

The New Zealand pairing of Perfect Stride and Zeuss Bromac could not match brilliant Australian colt Be Happy Mach in the 2yr-old pacing colt’s and gelding’s final.

But, the pair still performed admirably and completed a brilliant night for the New Zealand contingent by finishing third and fourth respectively. 



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