A New Diamond (Sunday 21st December 2014)
The new Diamonds Day concept for Finals Day at Ascot Park next April continues to gather momentum.
What promised to be the race of the day ended up being a disaster for the Wairio Trotting Club.
The $15,000 Wairio Cup which had drawn a top field was decimated when Shak'n Cullen, In The Kitty and Jango Fett ran into each other. The chaos also affected the chances of Char Do Neigh and The Wrath Of Robyn.
Char Do Neigh was able to recover and he and the other runners continued to race. Canardly Lover trained by Hamish Hunter took the cup, beating Twilight Franco by three quarters of a length. It was Hunter's fifth success in this race, with previous winners were Josephine Bret (1984), Yandoon (1992),Grenadier (2004) and Franco Ledger (2013).
After the race the Stewards launched an enquiry as to whether In The Kitty, Shak'n Cullen, Char Do Neigh, Jango Fett and The Wrath Of Robyn had been denied a fair start and whether what happened prejudiced their chances. After hearing evidence from the Stewards, starter Ben Ward and the respective horsemen, the JCA ruled that all of these horses had been denied a fair start and all were declared late scratchings.
Williamson 99 Not Out (Sunday 21st December 2014)
The Williamson name is at the forefront of sport at the moment with cricketer Kane Williamson in superb form for the Black Caps in the one day series against Pakistan, and local harness trainer/driver Nathan Williamson is also grabbing the spotlight, producing two winners at Wairio yesterday.
The most important win came with up and coming trotter Dwindle Mist's win in the Jaccka Lodge Handicap Trot. She won in impressive fashion.
Surprisingly the six year old mare started as the fifth favourite. Her form this season has been impeccable with the only glitch being a last start 8th at Oamaru in an invitation drivers event. She had impressively won at Invercargill on the Friday and then backed up two days later at Oamaru.
"She just missed away at Oamaru. She's a funny horse. You have to do things systematically with her. She had a different driver there and things didn't work out. I'm sure she would have backed up but on the day she missed away," he said.
In yesterday's race Dwindle Mist easily made up her 40 metre handicap and Williamson had her camped three back on the outside. When No Potato shot to the lead at the 600 metres he moved off the back of Moon Countess and issued his challenge. She came away to win by three lengths from No Potato with Experiment making ground late for third. It was the Sundon mare's fifth win in just nineteen starts.
"She's racing really well and got her confidence. She's a nice mare. We'll race at Gore next week then perhaps on to Omakau or Roxburgh. But it depends on what she does in the meantime. She may get handicapped out of some of those races."
Dwindle Mist and Nathan Williamson returning with win number 99 - Photo Bruce Stewart
Earlier in the day Williamson trained and drove Grey Power to win. The five year old Monkey Bones gelding was bought at the sales and Williamson did a late preparation with him as a two year old.
"I thought he went near enough. He was then turned out and I didn't see him for a couple of years. Last year he qualified as a four year old and had one start at Roxburgh where he galloped. He was pretty inexperienced back then but with a spell he's matured and he's come back good. He's not 100% yet but his manners were impeccable today."
Grey Power rests up after winning at Wairio yesterday - Photo Bruce Stewart
Christian Grey Win For Adams (Sunday 21st December 2014)
Ascot Park trainer has had a quiet start to the season but you can expect his green and white colours to be to the fore over the Christmas New Year as more of this team hit the race tracks.
Adam's scored yesterday at the Wairio meeting with maiden winner Christian Grey.
"I bought him at the sales for Michelle and Jess (Horton) and I've had him since he was a yearling. Craig Kennedy in Christchurch broke him in. He wasn't a two year old because he was a big sort of rangy horse so he's just taken a bit of time. His first run (6th at Wyndham) was quite good and today's run was really good. I think he'll progress. In the last week at home he's really lifted and I think he'll do a good job."
In the Nightcaps Hotel Mobile Pace driver Craig Ferguson settled the gelding three back on the rails while Dexter Dunn took favourite Leolas Delight to the lead. When the field straighten Ferguson shot the three year old up the passing lane to nail the favourite by a
Craig Ferguson gets one for boss Wayne Adams with Christian Grey - Photo Bruce Stewart
Meanwhile the promising Arden Castle from the Adams stable is due to return to the race track shortly. The Major In Art gelding won one race and was placed in just a handful of starts last season.
"He'll go to the workouts today (Sunday) and I'll nominate him for Gore or Winton. I think he's come up real good."