By Michael Guerin
Fresh from finally making an impression at the home of Sydney harness racing Kiwi driver Tim Williams wants to double down today.
Williams won his first ever feature race at Menangle on Saturday night when B D Joe declared himself a contender for the A$1million Miracle Mile by sitting parked to pace 1:50.6 on his Australian debut.
It was a significant first strike for the Telfer/Cullen stable as they start to target Aussie riches from their ever-expanding empire which has grown to be the biggest harness racing operation in New Zealand, capped by a premiership win on December 31.
Senior partner Steve Telfer has sent three reps to the Sydney carnival which not only includes the Miracle Mile on March 4 but the NSW Derby and Oaks as well as the Ladyship Mile, the market for the latter dominated by former Kiwi mares Stylish Memphis and Braeview Kelly.
For Williams, who has become one of New Zealand’s best drivers, the B D Joe success was his first at Menangle on a Saturday night, which is when they hold their major meetings.
“I have driven here before and won a race on a Tuesday when I worked for All Stars but Saturday night is a lot tougher,” explains Williams.
“He won really well considering how hard the mile racing is here so he will go to the Newcastle Mile next to try and qualify for the Miracle Mile.”
Williams stayed on in Sydney over the last few days to partner stablemate Kahlua Flybye at the Menangle meeting today (7.07pm NZtime).
The speedster had to play second fiddle to the unbeaten Millwood Nike here last season and is using today’s mile as what should have been an early confidence booster before she tackles the serious Australian fillies.
It hasn’t quite turned out that way because for a Tuesday rating 60 race it is very strong including a last-start Group 3-winning filly in Tin Tin Jo so while her New Zealand form would suggest Kahlua Flybye has a class edge, the race will be more testing than expected.
“She is really well and ready to go but we are drawn a bit wide so I won’t be rushing off the gate as it is only her first start back this time in,” says Williams.
Kahlua Flybye has picked the right Oaks to target as many of Victoria’s best fillies aren’t heading north to Sydney for the NSW Classic.
Tackling the NSW Oaks also doesn’t mean missing the Northern Oaks at Alexandra Park as it once did when they were on the same weekend as the Auckland classic is now not until March 24 so Kahlua Flybye would have the option of starting in both.