Williamson expecting handy effort today from Cracker Hill

Oamaru trainer-driver Brad Williamson has this week juggled the task of finding his next group 1 horse with preparing Cracker Hill for the first 3yr-old trotters’ classic of the season, the Hambletonian Classic, at Ashburton today.

By Monday the horseman had bought two trotting yearlings during the first day of the national yearling standardbred sales in Auckland.

Williamson is now finalising the syndication of a colt and filly by star trotting sire
Muscle Hill.

"I was really happy with the two Muscle Hill yearlings I got in Auckland," he said.

"They are both very nice types with good pedigrees."

"There is still a chance for people to get involved with them — there are still a small number of shares left."

While Williamson was busy bidding on what he hopes are his future stable stars, employee and junior driver Kerryn Tomlinson oversaw Cracker Hill’s buildup for the Hambletonian Classic.

Cracker Hill was third in his last start in the Orari Challenge Stakes at Geraldine earlier this month.

Williamson said he had fielded numerous questions about whether he thought his horse’s performance was disappointing behind Muscle Mountain and Midnight Dash.

"I have been asked that by heaps of people and I was happy with him.

"He was held up in the straight a lot more than it might look on the replay.

"The first two horses had a couple of lengths on me
before I got in the passing lane, and even in the lane I just had to check him a bit when the horse beside me galloped," Williamson said.

"In the first furlong of the straight the first two horses were flat out sprinting.

"The last 150m, I think he would have made up a length and a-half on a 28.2sec last quarter (400m) on the grass."

Cracker Hill is set to lead early again in today’s mile (1609m) feature after drawing barrier 5.

Williamson may hold the lead if he gets there, rather than hand it away as he did at Orari.

"I think he is more of a rolling type and he wasn’t suited to being held up along the passing lane last time.

"He is a go-forward type of horse, he is a tough horse and he has got plenty of gate speed, so he will be handy in the running and I think he will be very handy at the finish."

The Greg and Nina Hope-trained Muscle Mountain and Midnight Dash look two of Cracker Hill’s main rivals.

Tailored Elegance and One Majic Kenny will be serious Hambletonian Classic players if they bring better manners than they showed in the Orari Challenge Stakes.


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