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The only thing left to debate after Nathan Williamson won with Pembrook Playboy, Chinese Whisper and Ragazzo Mach at Ascot Park on Saturday was which performance was most impressive.
The Branxholme trainer-driver put on a masterclass, winning the Northern Southland meeting’s feature pace and trot emphatically, and producing one of the slickest maiden wins seen in Southland for some time.
Pembrook Playboy fired a warning shot at hisSouthern Supremacy Stakes Final rivals with a crushing win after sitting parked and dragging his main rival, Robyns Playboy, into the race.
The outstanding 4yr-old shrugged off that midrace work before reeling off sizzling sectionals to beat a game runner-up and pacemaker, Memphis Tennessee.
Going into Saturday’s 2700m handicap with just one run in this campaign means Pembrook Playboy should be even harder to beat in the group 2 feature later this month.
“That is exactly the kind of run he needed, really,”
because even though he went very nice he was starting to get a little bit tired towards the line,” Williamson said.
“That should bring him on quite a bit.”
Pembrook Playboy will probably have a trial and then go to the Supremacy.
The New Zealand Cup remains an option.
Chinese Whisper was just as impressive in the 2700m feature trot. The 5yr-old unleashed a brilliant finish to win after being second-last at the 600m.
Chinese Whisper had not raced for almost two months and was giving all his rivals a headstart off his 30m handicap.
“Quite often in those kind of races the leaders go flat out, trying to make it hard for the backmarkers, but it quite often plays in to our hands,” Williamson said.
“In saying that [runner-up] Sundons Flyer is a lovely mare and she had a nice run in front of us, so it was a pretty good effort to run her down ...
"He will go to the Tuapeka meeting next and then hopefully he will be at his peak when we get to cup week.”
It was likely he would start in undercard races during New Zealand Cup week, Williamson said.
By winning margin, Ragazzo Mach was Williamson’s most emphatic winner.
The 3yr-old paced the second-fastest 400m closing split of the day — bettered only by Pembrook Playboy — when dashing home in 27.2sec to win by six lengths in a smart 2min 41.4sec.
“He has never really been flat out yet, which is good,” Williamson said.
“I was more shocked with the time than anything else. It didn’t feel like we were going 2.41 because he did it pretty comfortably.”
Ragazzo Mach will probably race next in The Diamond Creek Farm Classic on Diamonds Day at Ascot Park.