Racing: Wins in mind for Williamson

Matthew Williamson.
Matthew Williamson.
The country's leading junior driver has a chance to extend his lead in the premiership when harness racing comes to Oamaru today.

Matthew Williamson is comfortably on top of the premiership for young drivers. His 47 wins puts him well clear of his nearest rival, Zac Butcher, on 33.

He has triple figures in mind as he looks ahead to the end of the season - a feat achieved only by Butcher, Mark Jones and Dexter Dunn as junior drivers in the past. Williamson ended up on 87 wins last season.

''Numbers-wise, 100 would be the realistic goal - and I want to beat Zac, however many that will take,'' Williamson said.

The North Otago reinsman is also entrenched in fourth on the national drivers' premiership, seven wins clear of John Dunn (40 wins).

Williamson hopes to pick up two winners today from nine potential drives.

One of his best chances looks to be Galleon's Triumph (race 2), who battled away bravely for second on a sticky Omakau track on January 2.

''He's good to go for tomorrow. Dad's other one [Bet's Sun] will be the hardest to beat,'' Williamson said.

Galleon's Triumph is best saved for one run, and Williamson will choose his time wisely.

''He'll sit back and we'll decide when to make our run.''

Just A Marvel (race 4) keeps going honest races, and he ran on well for third at Cromwell on Sunday as he seeks to leave the non-winners' grade.

''He's going quite good. He went well at Waimate, as well,'' Williamson said.

''He'll get one pretty soon - he's a pretty nice maiden."

Just A Marvel, trained by Ian Munro of Rostreiver Hanover fame, has barrier three to work with in a field that is not overly strong on paper. His biggest danger is on his immediate inside in the form of Stradowan, who was third behind Sara Holley at Rangiora.

No Potato is Williamson's drive in the junior drivers' race, although he is eyeing up his brother Nathan's horse, Galaxy Hunter, as the major danger. Williamson is yet to drive No Potato, but has liked what he has seen from the sidelines.

''I've seen him go and he looks like a good-gaited horse,'' he said.

Mackenzie Jacob's chances in a 1-2 win pace have been negated by his second-line draw.

''He might be a place chance, although he's probably one to put into the race at some point.''

He rated his other drives - Baby Fern, Redford, Illumaway, Graceandtemika and Yaholyterror - as place chances. The Fiery Ginga will compete today in the 2+ win trot, after fading to seventh at Cromwell on Sunday. Trainer Alan Clark often backs up the horse quickly, and The Fiery Ginga will start off the 50m mark, giving 40m to Roxburgh winner Miss Pegasus.