Williamson poised for big day at Ascot Park

By Jonny Turner

Nathan Williamson’s careful planning could see a Sand Wave come crashing down at Ascot Park in the Northern Southland Cup.

Williamson has taken a patient approach with his five-year-old who returned to racing to win the Gore Cup late last month after enjoying a decent spell.

The trainer-driver has resisted the urge to start Sand Wave in a myriad of summer feature races since then in preference of Thursday’s Group 3, and he hopes his planning will pay off.

“We targeted the Gore Cup and got him through that run and then targeted this race,” Williamson said.

“He seems really well; we gave him a quiet trial to keep him ticking over.”

“But, as people would’ve seen, he isn’t a horse that excites us too much on the trial track.”

“But it is what he does at the races that matters and he showed what he is capable of with his good win at Gore.”

With a Group 1 placing in the New Zealand Derby to his name, Sand Wave’s credentials look as good as any of his rivals in the Northern Southland Cup.

The pacer was outstanding in his Gore Cup win in slightly lesser company, but he will strip fitter for having that run under his belt.

“He usually makes a good beginning; if he can do that and it is a genuinely run race, I am sure he will be right there,” Williamson said.

Ohoka Connor, who starts alongside Sand Wave on the 15m mark in Thursday’s 2700m, looks the Southern star’s biggest threat.

Both are winners of the Group 2 Southern Supremacy Stakes at Ascot Park.

The Stonewall Stud pacer was beaten in his latest outing in the Central Otago Cup by another race rival in One Change.

But stepping back up to 2700m on Thursday looks a big assist for the four-year-old.

Williamson looks a decent chance of scoring a feature race double at Ascot Park on Thursday.

The reinsman combines with Majestic Man in the Group 3 Southern Lights Trot, with his regular reinsman and brother Brad Williamson committed to his own runner in Domination’s Call.

Williamson is thrilled to be filling the hot seat behind a classy trotter.

“He looks a great chance; he has been running good races.”

“Though being off the back mark, it might depend on what sort of drag into the race he gets.”

The Phil Williamson barn has a big hand in the Southern Lights Trot with Love N The Port also starting in the race.

The chestnut will have a key 10m headstart on his stablemate Majestic Man when starting from his 15m handicap.

Williamson also starts Jimmy Carter.

Though he hasn’t broken through so far this summer, the trotter has arguably produced some of the best runs on his career recently.

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