By Jonny Turner
Canterbury 3yr-olds Willison and Carlos Bromac are set for an exciting clash at Ascot Park today.
Willison heads south after producing a superb performance in rich company at Addington last week.
The Mark Jones-trained pacer settled well off the pace after being checked early in a race filled with quality 3yr-olds.
His effort to recover and produce the fastest last 800m and 400m sectionals of the race to run into fourth showed the potential his trainer knew he possessed.
“He is a horse we have thought a bit of and he probably disappointed us with his first few runs,” Jones said.
“But his last two runs have been very good in very good fields.”
The heavy check Willison copped in his last run does not seem to have bothered the horse – Jones reported he had worked well ahead of his trip south.
“He seems good. He is a pretty sensible type of horse and being a Bettor’s Delight, he doesn’t worry about much.”
Willison will start from barrier 6 in race 8, two spots inside Carlos Bromac, and has enough gate speed to pinch an early break on his main rival if driver Samantha Ottley chooses that plan.
Jones said he would be just as happy if the horse was to settle off the pace again.
“He is pretty quick off the gate. We haven’t really drawn to use it, but if he wants to roll forward he can, and if he wants to drop back, he can; he is pretty adaptable.”
Carlos Bromac has impressed by starting his career with
a good maiden victory in Invercargill before handling a significant rise in class to win again at Winton last week.
He also brings adaptability to today’s 2200m feature.
The pacer won from the trail on debut before making a midrace move, and won from the parked position in his next run.
Bookmakers do not see today’s race as a showdown between Willison and Carlos Bromac.
They rated Onesmartfella ($3) as the second favourite behind Willison ($1.90) on market opening. Carlos Bromac ($4) was the fourth favourite.
Trainer Chris Wilson looks to have the perfect opportunity to score his first win with Robyn’s Playboy in race 5.
Wilson has produced four placegetters from his 11 starters after joining his father, Ross, in a training partnership recently.
The scratching of Sagwitch means the 2700m handicap is Robyns Playboy’s for the taking.
The 4yr-old produced an excellent second behind Franco Santino at Winton before struggling to foot it with star pacer Spankem in the Hannon Memorial.
Today’s fast-class trot looks much more open.
Picketts Ridge will try to improve on his fair third behind Robbie Royale at Winton. The pair will clash again alongside Imran Khan, Wee Man Trouble and Monty Python.