Williamson saves the best for last

by Jonny Turner

Nathan Williamson saved one of his best for last as Sand Wave capped an outstanding 2023 for his trainer with his big win in the Gore Cup yesterday.

The pacer overcame a 30m back mark to seal yet another win in the Southland trainers' premiership for Williamson with his outstanding fresh-up victory.

Previously placed at Group One level, Williamson was thrilled Sand Wave was able to stamp his class in the Gore Cup after more than nine months away from racing.

“He's genuine, a good tempo always suits him and once there's a bit of tempo in the race, the cream rises,” the trainer-driver said.

“He's a game wee horse, I’m thrilled to get him back into winning form.”

The Gore track was lightning-quick yesterday with an incredible tally of five track records broken.

Many of the new marks were set by horses racing up on the pace, proving impossible to catch.

Overcoming a 30m back mark under yesterday’s conditions only made Sand Wave’s win even more impressive.

Though some excellent manoeuvering in the middle stages from Williamson certainly helped the horse’s cause.

“It worked out good; we ended up on the back of the right one, and we got dragged around them and then managed to take a sit on the back of Captain Tom.”

“So I was happy with where we positioned up, but still it’s a big ask in obviously a track record time.”

In winning, Williamson sealed a two-win margin in the 2023 Southland trainers' premiership over Craig Ferguson.

Ferguson produced Da Vinci to win yesterday’s three-year-old Cardrona Distillery Stakes.

Williamson was full of admiration for his rival after bagging another Southland premiership title, as well as praising his staff, owners, and wife, Katie.

“Craig and I get on well; I'm sure we'll have a couple of beers over the Christmas break on it.”

“I'm just as proud of Craig and what he's achieved this year, I mean he's done a sterling job.”

“His strike-rate is second to none, and it would have been great to see him win it.”

“But you just kind of win as many as you can, so I’m thrilled to do it again and really rapt for the stable.”

“Obviously, Katie too behind the scenes there and everyone like that; it's a big team effort.”

The Gore Trotting Cup went to a trotter formerly trained by Williamson in Andy Hall.

The seven-year-old joined the Robert and Jenna Dunn camp in the spring, and he capped consistent form when prevailing in a close finish.

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