Santino Gets Perfect Trip (Saturday 11th August 2018)

Bruce Stewart.


“Like I said to you during the week it’s the only way he could have won today,” said Nathan Williamson after Franco Santino won the Heartland Hotel Mobile Pace at Gore.

It couldn’t have panned out better, with a fresh Benio Ben and driver Dexter Dunn setting a very solid clip in front.

Dunn had his charge humming with 400 metres to run and Franco Santino was off the speed by seven lengths.

“They went fast up front and got (they) tired in the straight and they came back to me.”

The winning margin was half a length with Franco Huntington up close in third, three quarters of a length back.

The time was a respectable 2-42.5 on a track that had a new sand surface put down during the week.



Franco Santino and Nathan Williamson (6) getting the better of a game Benio Ben (3) and Dexter Dunn - Photo Bruce Stewart


“There’s plenty of nice races coming up with the Cup races around Christmas time. He’s not too bad off in the ratings being 78 after today. We’ll try and pick up a junior drivers race. He’s going to keep working through the grades hopefully.”

With the Cup races on the radar Williamson was asked about Franco Santino’s standing start ability.

“He’s only had one start from the stand which he won at Oamaru. He was safe away. He's so sensible and doesn’t have any hype or get wound up. Starting off those handicaps sometimes can be quite good. You can go in and be away and it gives them good confidence.”

The win today was the entire's fifth in only nine starts. He’s owned by Riverton fisherman Neville Cleaver.


Franco Santino Birdcage 950 x 633_1.jpg

Franco Santino, Nathan Williamson, Oliver Kite and Neville Cleaver - Photo Bruce Stewart


Meanwhile Changeover gelding Bold Ruler won his forth race when,aided by a super drive by trainer Peter Hunter, he held on to win the Barclay-Ellis Harness Racing Mobile Pace.

Hunter who darted from the back to take the lead with 600 metres to run said the win didn’t surprise him.     

“No not really. He’s had a couple of good runs at Winton and he raced good at the end of last season. It’s probably the best he’s ever gone (last season). He’s good to have around now. He wasn’t in the early days,” he said.

The now seven year old seems to have been around for a lifetime and Hunter says the owners Brendon McIntyre and Bill Moffatt have a goal in mind. 

“The owners want to get a hundred caps for Southland and he’s four starts away from getting that.”


Bold Ruler (12) and Peter Hunter holding on in a tight finish - Photo Bruce Stewart.


It was the second win of the day for McIntyre. He won the previous race as part of the What Ever Syndicate when Broadway Banner cleared maiden ranks in the Sir Lincoln at Alabar Mobile Pace.



Driver Matty Williamson looking for the challenges aboard Broadway Banner - Photo Bruce Stewart 



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