Hometown trainer Danny Williams may have the numbers and the horses with the right form to quinella the Country Championship qualifier at Goulburn on Saturday, but it won’t be as easy as it sounds.
The $150,000 South East qualifier over 1400 metres has attracted a quality line-up full of metropolitan winners and others with the right credentials to win.
The absence of horses trained in Canberra, which are now slotted to race in the Provincial qualifiers, means the Goulburn leg of the series is a little bit easier than what it might have been.
Those factors aside has done little to boost the enthusiasm of the trainers with the 15 contenders as they still need to finish in the top two to earn a spot in the $400,000 final at Randwick.
Williams has four starters including two last start Sydney winners – I Told Georgie and Pumpkin Pie – as well as Shutter Bug and Vee Eight.
If you think it’s a matter of picking which one of Williams runners will win, it’s not that simple as there are some worthy opponents.
Trainers Joe Cleary and Kurt Goldman each have dual representation, while for others like Tash Burleigh (Hangover Monday) and Shaun Coady (Jorgeus), it’s the biggest race they have had a horse start
Williams is no stranger to big race success and it’s fair to say he holds the key to the race.
“Pumpkin Pie is the stand out of my four. She makes her own luck and doesn’t have a lot of weight for a three-year-old filly,” he said.
“The outside draw isn’t a totally bad thing as she doesn’t like to be cluttered up.
“Her lead-up form is good.”
Pumpkin Pie showed plenty of determination to win last start as did I Told Georgie who raced deep and finished brilliantly to also win in Sydney.
“They will all be competitive. Two of them are last start Sydney winner, Shutter Bug is racing well and Vee Eight missed out last start but can also be thereabouts,” he said.
“It’s always a bonus to have this qualifier at your home track where the horses are familiar.”
Williams finished third in last year’s qualifier with Ashjata who went onto run second in the Wild Card before finishing well down the track in the final.
This time he has four starters with undeniable chances headed by Pumpkin Pie and I Told Georgie who should battle for favouritism and finish line honours.