Williamson trains first winner
By Jonny Turner
Matthew Williamson added another chapter to his family’s rich harness racing legacy when training his first winner at Ascot Park on Saturday.
Flossie nosed out Hans Ideal in an exciting finish to hand the leading reinsman his maiden training victory with just his second starter.
Taking out his training licence and notching his first win is not a sign Williamson is immediately progressing toward preparing a big stable of horses like his parents Phil and Bev and brothers, Nathan and Brad.
Williamson’s current team consists solely of horses he and his fiancé, Charlotte Purvis, have an interest in.
“I will just have to see how things pan out before I make any decisions about training any more horses.”
“It could depend on Mum and Dad and what they decide to do as they get older.”
“At the moment I am still keen to do plenty of driving.”
Williamson often spends just minutes in the sulky behind the dozens of horses he drives across the South Island.
Flossie has been spoilt by comparison, having been in the horseman’s care since she was born.
The 3yr-old has provided Williamson with the chance to give back some of his early supporters.
Flossie is raced by Purvis, Williamson’s aunty and uncle, Lance and Sharon Doran, and his mother.
“Lance and Sharon have sponsored me and they were great supporters of mine early on.”
“I work the horse at Mum and Dad’s place, so that is how Mum got a share.”
“Charlotte has done a lot of work with the horse, so she deserves a lot of credit, too.”
Williamson has previously unofficially prepared winners that have lined up from his father’s stable.
They include talented, but unsound trotter Winnie McGoogan and two-win pacer Double Trap.
Flossie and some of the horses Williamson has previously started have raced in his new stable colours.
The red silks with yellow and black sash are those of Dick Prendergast, who Williamson’s father, Phil, gained some of his early experience in harness racing with.
“Dick came up to me at the trials one day and offered the colours to me,” Williamson said.
“It was a bit of a privilege to be given the chance to use them.”
“Dick had a lot of good horses, so hopefully I can do them justice.”
Brad Williamson starred in the sulky on the day his brother notched his first training win.
He scored with Allandale, Reattore and Jimmy Carter to notch a treble of victories.
Allandale’s victory helped Omakau trainer Lionel Sinnamon notch a personal best more than sixty years in to his training career.
The win was Sinnamon’s fourth of the season, one better than his previous best of last term.
The veteran horseman has trained 27 winners, with his first coming in January of 1959.