Stratford wins at Gore

FINE FORM: Tulach Ard (No 1, Nathan Williamson) wins narrowly from Liam Sienna (Shane Walkinshaw) at Gore yesterday.
FINE FORM: Tulach Ard (No 1, Nathan Williamson) wins narrowly from Liam Sienna (Shane Walkinshaw) at Gore yesterday.

Tony Stratford trained three winners in a day for the first time at Gore yesterday.

Stratford, who began training 18 years ago, landed a winning treble with Royal Squeeze, Ultra Shok and Classiemahon. Dexter Dunn drove the trio.

''I've had two in a day a few times,'' Stratford said.

The horseman is looking forward to the autumn with 3-year-old trotting filly Royal Squeeze.

Stratford harnessed up Royal Squeeze to win the Gore Workouts Committee Trot at the Gore Harness Racing Club meeting. She has shown potential since owner John Duff bought her at the Auckland yearling sales last year.

''She's got a big future,'' Stratford said of the granddaughter of Miss Whiplash (13 wins).

The trainer won't overtax Royal Squeeze this season, but the classics during the autmn and winter are on her agenda.

''Especially the (New Zealand) Trotting Oaks, because she'll dodge the colts and geldings,'' Stratford said.

Duff, who is a Longbush farmer, raced Country Cups Final winner Flying Diamonds from Stratford's stable. Flying Diamonds now campaigns in Sydney for Duff.

Ultra Shok, who took out the Ultra-Mox Pace, is owned by several Southland dairy farmers.

Four-year-old Ultra Shok raced well after tough runs in some of his earlier starts. He was turned out for a week after racing at Forbury Park on September 28.

''We put half blinds on him and he seems a different horse. His work's been good,'' Stratford said.

He trains Classiemahon for the Jay Tee Syndicate, which comprises Winton trainer Ian Wilson and his wife Joyce.

Yankee One booked his ticket to Cup Week in Christchurch by winning the Thompson Machinery Handicap Trot.

Winton owner-trainer Trevor Wilson transferred Yankee One to Phil Williamson's Oamaru stable after the squaregaiter finished second at Winton on October 14. Wilson, with veterinary help, took a year to cure deep seated abscesses in Yankee One's back hooves.

The Winton race was Yankee One's first start for 17 months. That night Williamson took Yankee One back to Oamaru.

Others in Williamson's team that could be at the New Zealand Cup meeting at Addington on November 13 and 16 are Murcielargo, Jag's Invasion, Springbank Sam and Maori Invasion.

All of the 24 horses in work with Williamson are trotters.

Tulach Ard gave Brett Gray a special training win in the Ward and Sinclair Ltd Pace.

Gray took over the team formerly trained by his late father Murray, who died in May. Brett trains at the Ryal Bush property of his mother and father after earlier working a small team at Makarewa.

Tulach Ard is the first winner Brett has trained since his father died.

Helpers in the stable are Russell Morton, Laurie Jamieson, Craig O'Callaghan and Chris Walsh.

Tulach Ard's Invercargill owner-breeder, Carolyn Pannett, plans to mate the gelding's dam, Nevalookbak, with Live Or Die this season. The Blur, also out of Nevalookbak, won three times from Murray Gray's stable before adding another 11 wins to his record in Australia.

The Southland Times