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Brad Williamson started his season in style yesterday and showed his team is on song for his hometown’s biggest day of harness racing.
Williamson trained and drove Laurie’s Legacy and Simone Lindenny for victories at Young Quinn Raceway in Wyndham.
Williamson’s team is in the best kind of form for the Hannon Memorial meeting in Oamaru a week on Sunday.
The reinsman got the chance to get a line on his Hannon drive, Vintage Cheddar, when the pacer took part in a trial between races yesterday.
The Alister Black-trained pacer headed off fellow southern stars Pembrook Playboy, Robyns Playboy and U May Cullect in their first public appearances of the spring.
"He was pretty lazy the whole way round.
"I had to chase him up a bit but I clocked him to run home in a pretty good [second-last] quarter,” Williamson said.
“He is just building up his fitness. Once he has a few races he will be a lot better and he should be peaking for [New Zealand] Cup Week.”
Simone Lindenny has quickly shown the ability of a horse that could make her mark in the intermediate grades at the New Zealand Cup Carnival.
The 3yr-old made made it two from two with a powerful front-running win yesterday.
“It was an impressive win.
"[Runner-up] Cody Banner has a bit of ability when he trots and there was a bit of pressure there.
“She is a nice horse. She would be one of the nicer horses in my stable.
"She has still got a lot to learn yet. She gets keen in her prelim and she isn’t the easiest horse to drive at the moment.
“But she has got the ability there."
Earlier, Laurie’s Legacy ran to a similar victory with Williamson in the sulky.
Caught parked early, the reinsman pressed forward to take the lead and the 4yr-old was too slick for her rivals.
“It was a good effort.
"She is a horse that has shown ability.
“Her run a couple of starts ago when she ran third was very good.
“It was a great result.
"Gerald Cayford, her owner, is away whitebaiting and he tuned in to watch her.
"He told me he had a big bet on her, so he was pretty happy."
Williamson’s stable star, Cracker Hill, will not be seen at the Hannon meeting or the New Zealand Cup Carnival.
The trainer and the horse’s owners decided to take a cautious approach with the squaregaiter after he suffered a minor knee injury in the autumn.
Cracker Hill’s team have given him an extended spell and he is expected return to racing in December or January.