Won't remain unknown for long
By Michael Guerin
Champion trotting trainer Phil Williamson is looking forward to taking a horse you have never heard of to the races at Addington tonight just as much as his stable star.
Because debutante two-year-old Ultimate Stride won’t remain unknown for long.
That is how high an opinion Williamson has of last season’s trotting sales topping yearling heading into the two-year-old trot at Addington tonight.
Ultimate Stride has only had a handful of workouts and trials but Williamson says he is at least as good as Oscar Bonevena, the star two-year-old he trained last season until he was sold for big money.
“He is pretty smart but he might need to be from the second line,” says Williamson, who leads the national trainers premiership for trotting wins.
“Ideally he would have drawn the front line and could have made his own luck and off the second line it is not as easy to be confident.
“But I think he is a pretty good horse and he can still win.”
Williamson also lines up his stable star Majestic Man in tonight’s four and five-year-old trot but says his chances might depend on the readiness of key rival Winterfell.
“It is a good field and I respect a horse like Sundees Son but Winterfell is a horse we haven’t beaten yet so if he is at his best maybe we will struggle to beat him.
“Don’t get me wrong, our horse is a genuine open class horse but I can’t tip him to beat Winterfell until we have done it before.”
Winterfell’s stablemate Ultimate Sniper looks close to a good thing in tonight’s Flying Stakes, the lead-up to the NZ Derby in two weeks.
The race of the night at Addington will almost certainly be the clash of group one winners like Sheriff, A G’s White Socks, Elle Mac and Eamon Maguire in the $30,000 free-for-all, with the early tempo the key as those who work hard could be left sitting ducks.
At Alexandra Park tonight On The Cards will enjoy not to having to face stablemate Jack’s Legend in the main pace after finishing a close second to him in his last three starts.
Back into a slightly easier grade the rugged pacer should be able to use his gate speed to go forward and control race six and looks one on the better sets of the night, along with Heavyweight Hero in the main trot after it took Massive Metro to beat him last start.