Bev and Phil Williamson are currently breeding from nine top quality trotting mares. And because they’ve either trained and/or raced most of them or their close relatives, they know their pedigrees very well.
Phil recently chalked up 500 trotting winners; a remarkable feat in itself. And he and Bev are continuing to invest in, not only trotting’s bright future but their own, by breeding a good supply of young stock that they’re prepared to race.
The Williamsons have been great fans of Sundon, and their record with stock of that sire is excellent. Five of their mares are by this champion sire and they’re continuing to use his frozen semen.
Although Phil doesn’t come from a family that had an interest in racing Bev does.
Her parents Ron and Muriel Mills bred and raced standardbreds successfully – Wee Willow and Gemini Jo were two of their better horses.
Bev and Phil got their breeding adventure underway with Jasmyn’s Gift (Sundon – IIona Del) the winner of 17 races from their barn.
Her wins included to 2006 New Zealand Trotting FFA, Ordeal Trotting Cup and the Group One New Zealand Trotting Championship when she beat stablemate Allegro Agitato. She also ran third in the 2005 Dominion Handicap.
As a broodmare she’s left The Pres filly Le Lievre’s Gift which has won four races, the qualified but unraced Monarchy mare Jasmyn Rules, and promising Muscle Yankee filly Zoey’s Gift. She’s recently been bought by Emilio Rosati.
“To begin with she was just being a bit naughty like her mum used to be and was missing away at the start. She’s got a big motor so hopefully she does a good job for Emilio,” said Bev.
Her next foal, a colt by Angus Hall, was sold by the Williamsons at the 2016 Sale of the Stars for $105,000 to Rosati. Sold as Hands Are A Gift, he’s had a name change and is now Cavalier Stride.
One Under Kenny (Sundon) which won eleven races and was good enough to run fourth in the 2003 Rowe Cup, is another mare the Williamsons are breeding from. This one is in partnership with Erin Bradley and George Emond.
As a broodmare she’s left King Kenny which won nine races and talented Brads Kenny the winner of five races.
“He’s (Brad’s Kenny) just had soreness issues. Nice wee horse but just not sound.”
One Under Kenny has also left a two year old filly by Dream Vacation.
“Phil likes her but she’ll just need a bit of time.”
Here Comes Pat (Dream Vacation – Got Pat) which won eight races for good stable clients Dennis Stumbles and Jim Hunter is a recent addition to the Williamson broodmare band.
“They said to Phil that he could have her to breed out of because they weren’t wanting to breed now. She’s got a positive test to Sundon.”
Another mare in the Williamson name is Nice One Kenny. She’s also a Sundon mare who’s out of Frances Jay Bee.
As a broodmare she’s left Majestic Son filly Majestic Kenny which is owned by Trevor Casey. Casey is breeding from Majestic Kenny and sold a Revenue two year old out of the mare called Jake The Mus (Muscle Hall) for $55,000 at this year’s yearling sales.
Nice One Kenny is also the dam of nine win mare Queen Kenny. She won last season’s Group Three Greenlane Cup at Alexandra Park.
“She (Nice One Kenny) missed to Love You last year but is in foal to Muscle Mass this year.”
Dwindle Mist another by Sundon out of Iris Pointer won two races for Phil before son Nathan took her over her training, winning another four races.
“She’s in foal to Muscle Mass as well and hopefully she’ll have a nice colt.”
Sundon mare Castleton’s Jewel is another in the breeding barn. She won three races when trained by Phil and is a full sister to Castleton’s Mission which won the Two Year Old Trotters Championship and Hamiltonian. He ended up winning fifteen races.
“Matthew’s got a really nice colt by CR Commando out of her. It’s the only colt she’s had, the rest have been fillies.”
They’re also breeding from Yukon Quest which is out of Little Contessa. She qualified but was unraced.
“She had an injury on the jogger. It was quite a bad injury so we decided to put her in the broodmare paddock. She actually qualified after the injury and Phil thought she was never the same horse.”
She has left two colt foals by Monkey Bones and CR Commando.
Last but not least in the Williamson broodmare band is Little Contessa (Britewell – Game Princess) which won four races.
“The original owner had finished with her so we bought her and she won another couple of races after that. We then started to breed out of her and she’s been a really good broodmare.”
Little Contessa is a sister to Prince Whiz the winner of seven races, Lord’s Invasion six wins and Duchess Of Whiz and Duke Of Whiz which both won five races.
She has left Maori Invasion (3 wins), Irish Invasion (11 NZ wins) and Heard The Whisper (6). Her most recent foal of racing age is Davey Mac.
“Unfortunately he got injured up in Central Otago and he had to have some stitches at the top of his leg. He must have been kicked or got caught in the fence. Phil likes him.”
Her latest foal Tessa’s Pride qualified at Oamaru recently.
The foals born this season out of Bev and Phil’s mares have all been fillies. Jasmyn’s Gift has a Muscle Hill foal, Little Contessa a Sundon filly, Castleton’s Jewel one by Angus Hall, and Yukon Quest has a Monkey Bones filly.
This breeding season Jasmyn’s Gift is visiting Father Patrick, One Under Kenny is off to Love You, Here Comes Pat will go to Sundon, Nice One Kenny, Jasmyn Rules and Dwindle Mist will all be served by Muscle Mass.
“If we can afford to, we like to go to the better sires. We’ve learned over the years that it’s better not to breed but when you do, go to the best rather than the cheaper sires,” said Phil.
So as you can see there’s a fair bit of hope pinned on Muscle Mass and it’s looking to be a good move.
He’s currently standing at Nevele R Stud in Canterbury and at the time of writing was the leading sire of two year old trotters in both New Zealand and Australia.
Muscle Mass had a sensational season - 2015-2016. His first crop included the first two runners home (Custodian and Heavyweight Hero) in the Group One Harness Jewels Two Year Old Ruby in June.
And Muscle Mass is off to a flyer this season with the first three horses home in the Group Three Hambletonian; Chevron Express, Muscles Galore and Needle all being by that sire. Chevron Express and Muscles Galore are both out of Sundon mares and as you can see the Williamsons have plenty of those.
Heavyweight Hero has also continued on his winning way this season breaking two national records.
At the time of writing of the 50 named foals by Muscle Mass in this country 35 have qualified and/or have won races - a remarkable statistic.
“He’s put his hand up really and we’ve had a couple of his nice ones,” Phil said.
The two Phil is referring to are Zhenya which won five races for him and a further five in Australia and the promising Winnie McGoogan which won one of his two starts as a two year old and was second in the other.
The Williamson stable recently qualified three two year old geldings all by Majestic Son. They’re all out of good mares in Love Hate Revenge, Kylie Ree and Sunny Connie.
So after identifying that trotting was a way of getting into breeding at the bottom end of the market Bev and Phil Williamson have made a very good living out of that gait in what was once the poor relation of the Standardbred scene.
That perception is changing as trotting is fast becoming one of the saviours of the industry.
At the recent sales more top end trainers were purchasing better quality squaregaiters - something the Williamsons have advocated and have been doing for a long time.