Williamson back in winning groove

NZ HARNESS NEWS

After going 10 weeks without a winner, Nathan Williamson was back in the groove at Forbury Park last night (Friday) and hopes to continue the trend with two runners in at Oamaru on Sunday.

Williamson cruised through the first eight months of the season with 20 wins and early in April reached a personal milestone when Scarlett Lane won at Forbury Park.

It was his 200th victory as a trainer, Splash Cola was his 201st a couple of days later and also his 202nd last night.

“I didn't realise. I was off for some of that time with a broken bone in my foot but I've been quite happy with the team.”

Splash Cola is no stranger to milestones, having provided Williamson's 500th New Zealand driving success in January 2015.

That was the promising mare's third win from her first five starts but she never got to reach her potential.

“She was a top line mare but has had a heap of injuries since then, it has taken a while to get her back and she might not make that level again, but she should have a good winter,” Williamson said.

Driven at Forbury Park by Williamson's brother Matthew, Splash Cola shared the back mark with stablemate Grey Power, reined by Nathan.

They were racing close to each other when Splash Cola shot forward near the 400 and soon settled the issue.

Grey Power wasn't rushed till straightening and then found the line solidly for third. He will back up in the Springbank Trot at Oamaru and Williamson expects him to be even better on the bigger track.

“He ran on strongly last night. You just need to help him round the bends, it won't be so bad at Oamaru. He hasn't had a two-day back up before but should be okay.

Franco Santino has it all against him when he contests the R50 to 70 handicap pace at Oamaru but Williamson is expecting a good run in the three-year-old's first start since finishing third in the Southern Supremacy Stakes.

“He's hasn't raced for seven weeks, is up against the older horses, giving 20 metres to some nice types and having his first stand start,” Williamson said.

“It's always a bit of a worry first time but he goes alright in practice, I'd expect him to be safe but not swift.”

The Christian Cullen colt had a short break after the Supremacy and his trainer feels he is forward enough to give a good showing without the benefit of a trial.

“He's always been a balancing act, an under-developed colt, giving him enough work to get him fit without flattening him, so he doesn't have long breaks.

“He is maturing up, I think he'll cope better this time without having to space his races as much.”

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