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The blueblood 3yr-old was never asked for a serious effort by driver Matthew Williamson as he strode to an emphatic win in race 9.
The victory came in the trotter’s first start since winning the group 1 Australasian Breeders’ Crown Final for 2yr-olds in Melbourne last August.
Ultimate Stride’s racing career was put on hold after he broke a pedal bone while enjoying a spell at Williamson’s property following his breakout win.
The trainer’s first move was to call in Gillespie to give the son of Love You and star mare One Over Kenny the best chance of recovering successfully.
“We are very lucky that we can call on Pete," Williamson said.
“He is the man in this area, that is for sure. He has such a huge amount of knowledge we can tap in to.”
Ultimate Stride showed how good his recovery was when he went booming to the lead early and was never bettered.
Williamson said Gillespie deserved high praise for his 3yr-old’s swift progress.
“Pete put in a lot of time working on getting the horse right. We worked on putting a special shoe on him and Pete kept an eye on everything right the way through to make sure the bone was healing well.”
Though Ultimate Stride is back to full health, it does not mean Williamson will try to make up for lost time immediately.
“I was thinking about taking him back to Invercargill next week, but he won’t be going. He will go into a bit of a holding pattern now."
He would keep him ticking over "until the good 3yr-old races come around.”
This season’s 3yr-old Sires Stakes and Sales Series Final races have been rescheduled for Alexandra Park in October.
Saturday’s race was not a complete story of success for Williamson and Gillespie. The pair race Springbank Lachie, who finished last behind Ultimate Stride.
Another impressive Ascot Park winner could have feature age-group racing on her agenda.
Braeview Kelly backed up her sensational 11 and Œ-length trial trial win on the track last weekend with a powerful and professional win in race 4.
Trainer Tony Stratford could not have been more impressed with his 3yr-old’s effort, and
not just because of the talent she showed.
Horses galloped at the start and chaos ensued.
"I don’t think too many maidens in the country could have come out and done that,” Stratford said.
“Sure, she had a nice run, but she really had to sprint hard to catch the leader. And she had to be pretty professional with all those horses galloping at the start.”
Stratford would consider targeting feature age-group races if Braeview Kelly’s progression in the spring warranted it.