By Jonny Turner
Oamaru trainer Phil Williamson praised Dunedin vet Peter Gillespie after Ultimate Stride made a brilliant return to racing at Ascot Park on Sunday.
The blueblood 3yr-old was never asked for a serious effort by driver Matthew Williamson as he went strode to a emphatic win in race 9.
The victory came in the trotter’s first start since winning the group 1 Australasian Breeder’s Crown Final for two-year-olds in Melbourne, last August.
Ultimate Stride’s racing career went 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 were in a bit of trouble, because we had just lost our best horse to injury,” Williamson said.
“But we are very lucky that we can call on Pete.”
“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 racing fans how good his recovery went booming to the lead early and not giving his rivals a remote winning chance after.
Williamson said Gillespie’s deserved a big amount of praise for his three-year–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 and fit, 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 in to a bit of a holding pattern now and keeping him ticking over until the good three-year-old races come around.”
This season’s three-year-old Sires Stakes and Sales Series Final races have been rescheduled due to Covid19 and will be run at 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 ¼ trial length 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 three-year-old’s effort.
And not just because of the talent she showed.
Sweet Annie galloped in the lead in to the first bend set off a domino effect of horses galloping and causing interference to each other.
Braeview Kelly was not spooked by the chaos and paced perfectly in to the one-one soon after.
“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 expects Braeview Kelly to develop in to a better horse as she gain more racing experience.
“She is pretty inexperienced – she had only been away from home twice this time in.”
“She is a smart horse and she should keep getting better, especially being a Bettor’s Delight.”
Stratford said he consider targeting feature age group races if Braeview Kelly’s progression in the spring warranted it.