Ken Casellas | Photo: Gloucester Park Harness Racing
Trainer Ray Williams and the owners of Stamford are looking forward keenly to the New Zealand-bred gelding going one better than his champion full-brother Magnificent Storm and winning the $200,000 Golden Nugget in December.
Magnificent Storm finished a neck second to Minstrel in the Golden Nugget in February 2021 and has gone from strength to strength since then.
Stamford obviously does not have an inferiority complex, and he is making a name for himself with his recent deeds at Gloucester Park, including his excellent victory in the 2130m Alan Parker Hall Of Fame Inductee Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
“He will go out now and have a bit of a break before coming back to be prepared for the big races for four-year-olds at the end of the year,” said Williams.
Magnificent Storm won the Four-Year-Old Classic and Four-Year-Old Championship in January of last year before finishing second in the Golden Nugget. Now Stamford will be aimed at those three rich feature events this year.
“Stamford has had a bit of a mixed campaign this time,” said Williams. “He won first-up at Northam and then had a bit of a hoof crack before he had a succession of four bad draws and then broke through from barrier six tonight.
“He is a tough horse and he and Magnificent Storm look quite similar. Magnificent Storm will race at Gloucester Park next Friday night when we will be looking forward to Aldo Cortopassi resuming in the sulky after recovering from his injuries received in a fall in April.”
Stamford, driven by Aiden De Campo, was the $3.70 second favourite from barrier six on Friday night, with veteran Rokorico the $2.90 favourite from barrier one.
Longreach Bay ($23) dashed to an early lead before De Campo sent Stamford to the front after 550m. He then set a solid pace and won comfortably at a 1.55.7 rate from Rokorico, who finished strongly from fifth on the pegs at the bell. Longreach Bay also finished determinedly to be third.
The win improved Stamford’s record to 20 starts for 11 wins, four placings and $69,809 in prizemoney.