Williamson on dad duties during lockdown 

By Jonny Turner

Despite itching to get back out on the track lockdown has been a special time for Matthew Williamson.

The Oamaru trainer-driver will be back in action as New Zealand harness racing returns for the first time since the national level 4 lockdown at Ascot Park on Thursday.

Though Williamson has shared the frustrations of many trainers and drivers across the country who have been forced off the track, he has had plenty to keep him occupied.

He and wife Charlotte welcomed their second child into the world on the first day of New Zealand’s lockdown following the recent Delta variant outbreak.

With mother and baby doing well the timing has proven to be ideal.

“Charlotte and Leila are both doing really well,” Williamson said.

“The timing has worked out pretty well because we have been able to spend a bit of extra time at home.”

“Everything has gone great, so we couldn’t be happier, really.”

In the early stages of a move into training his own team fulltime, Williamson had a handful of pacers and trotters racing before lockdown.

Having fit and in form horses ready to race but unable to leave home was the most frustrating aspect of the past two weeks.

“They had all been racing the week before so it was a bit frustrating having horses fit and ready to go.”

“It’s great that it’s behind us now and we can get back out there.”

Williamson lines two horses from his stable at Ascot Park on Thursday in Wolfenstein (race 9) and Winning Bones (race 5).

Winning Bones looks a decent eachway chance in a small feature trot field.

“I have been pleased with him since he has been here, I’m expecting a pretty decent run from him on Thursday.”

Williamson has seven drives on the Ascot Park card including Cantfindabettorman, who is likely to start at very short odds in race 7.

“He has a bit on that field so he should be very hard to beat.”

Cody Banner looks to be one of the best chances among Williamson’s other outside drives in race 3.

“He was going really well before lockdown, he looks pretty well placed in that field so if he trotted all the way he would be a big show.”

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