Wilson on the board
By Jonny Turner
Chris Wilson showed he could be the bad luck charm for his own training career when he scored his first win with Robyns Playboy at Ascot Park on Saturday.
Wilson's training partnership with father Ross notched its maiden victory when their 4yr-old outclassed his rivals in the Northern Southland Trotting Club meeting's fast-class pace.
The luck Chris had brought to the Wilson partnership had been the topic of joking between the trainers leading up to the race.
"The old man has been telling me since we went in to partnership we haven't won a race for ages," Chris said.
Wilson was unable to attend Saturday's races, which only strengthened the claim he may be the stable's bad luck charm.
Statistics tell a different tale - that the Wilsons have made an excellent start to their new official combination. The trainers had notched four placings from 11 starts before Sunday's meeting.
Two of those placings had come from perennial placegetter Han Ideal, who has been in the money 16 times in 66 starts without winning.
"To be fair, we probably should have won a couple of races by now with Hans Ideal, but she just doesn't know how to put her nose in front on the line," Wilson said.
There was no nailbiting finish from Robyn's Playboy as he and driver Craig Ferguson barely gave their rivals a look-in on Saturday. The pair made it to the front early before putting a break on the field at the 400m to win easily.
Wilson may not get a chance at entering harness racing's history books by training a New Zealand Cup winner just weeks after getting his licence.
Robyns Playboy's cup tilt is up in the air following his seventh in last month's Hannon Memorial.
"We are tossing up whether this is his year for the cup.
"The Hannon showed he is not as good as the All Stars [stable]. He might run a really good race and finish ninth or something like that.
"So, we are just going to see how he comes through this race and decide if we make the next payment or we pull him out and hang around home and race in some of the country cups."
Saturday's meeting was packed with highlights, including the winning return of driver Charlotte Purvis
The reinswoman scored her first win since being out of the sulky to have daughter Sadie earlier this year when winning with Sheeza Sport. The Waikouaiti mare dashed home along the inner to win at huge $66 odds for trainer Amber Hoffman.
Home-town pacer Onesmartfella upstaged Canterbury raiders Carlos Bromac and Willison to win Saturday's graduation final. Driver Nathan Williamson had the 4yr-old in front throughout, before Onesmartfella left his rivals in his dust with a fast closing 400m.
Williamson also produced another well-judged front-running drive to win with Pembrook's Playboy.
The pacer was one of two winners from his stable, Mark Hurrell driving Triroyale Brigade to win.