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Ask Me Art the one to beat

By Tayler Strong

Ask Me Art has posted his two wins at Forbury Park, both by wide margins, suggesting a third is possible tonight (Thursday).

He has been driven in both those wins by Dexter Dunn, who is again in the sulky in race 7. The 5-year-old Art Official gelding won by five and a half lengths at his last start on April 6 after leading for the last 1500m. He won first up by three and three quarter lengths in May, 2015.

Michael House, the trainer of Ask Me Art, has Audi Hare in the same race on Thursday. Audi Hare (Blair Orange) was a battling fifth at Forbury Park on April 6.

Explosive Star responded to the addition of half blinkers to lead throughout at Forbury Park last Thursday. He looks capable of a repeat performance in race 4.

Springbank Lachie, winner of the group three New Zealand Trotting Stakes for 2-year-olds at his first start, has the $70,000 PGG Wrightson New Zealand Yearling Sales Final next on his agenda followed by the Harness Jewels.

The Yearling Sales race is at Addington on May 12 and the Harness Jewels at Ashburton on June 3.

“At this stage the thinking is to skip the Sires’ Stakes with him. They can’t do everything,’’ said trainer Phil Williamson.

The $60,000 Sires’ Stakes Final is at Addington on May 19.

Springbank Lachie was a $60,000 purchase by Alistair Smith, of Wendon (Southland) when offered by Trevor Beaton, of Aylesbury and Brian McCully, of Timaru at the 2016 premier yearling sale. Alistair races the Majestic Son – Kylie Ree gelding with his wife, Denise.

“Alister can take the credit for selecting him. He asked my opinion and I thought he was up to the mark,” said Williamson.

Springbank Lachie is the second foal of Kylie Ree, who won the Sires’ Stakes Final in 2010 when trained by Mark Purdon. Kylie Ree (Monarchy – Nerokilo) also won the Harness Jewels at two. She was restricted to 11 starts  through soreness and did not race after she won the Hambletonian at Ashburton in February of her 3-year-old season.

Her first foal, She’s Allthe Craze (by Crazed) won at Roxburgh at her second start in January, 2016 from the Nathan Williamson stable. She’s Allthe Craze was put aside to strengthen two months later. Nathan bought Kylie Ree in September with a colt at foot by Trixton and she has been served by Father Patrick.

Williamson and the Smiths have a successful association highlighted by Springbank Richard, who won 20 races and $664,338 before he died as an 8-year-old in 2012.

Springbank Richard won the 2007 Victoria Trotting Derby, Harness Jewels races at three and four, the 2009 Dominion Handicap, an Ordeal Cup and two Banks Peninsula Cups.

Springbank Richard (Sundon – It’s A Whiz) was bred by the Smiths but they have bought good winners Springbank Sam and Springbank Eden at the premier yearling sales.

“Alistair has been spot on with his sale selections,’’ said Phil.

Springbank Sam (Sundon – Niamey) cost $26,000 in 2009; Springbank Eden (Angus Hall – Landoras Special) cost $127,500 in 2013.

Springbank Sam won 20 races before he was sold to the United States last July. The won first up as a 2-year-old and the group three Southern Lights at Invercargill in 2013 and 15.

Springbank Eden has won 10. He  is due to trial at Ashburton on Saturday as a prelude to starting a fresh campaign.

The Commando (CR Commando – Castleton’s Jewel), another highly regarded 2-year-old trotter in the stable, is due to trial the same day.

“It is the best crop of 2-year-olds we have had. We broke in seven and they have all showed ability,” said Phil.

Majestic Man (Majestic Son – Love Hate Revenge) was an impressive winning first up at Forbury Park last week. He may race over a mile at Ashburton on April 29.

Madam Spur, winner of three races from the Williamson stable, has her first start from the Clevedon stable of John and Joshua Dickie at Alexandra Park on Friday night.






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