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DANNY Williams was represented by Ashjata in the $400,000 Country Championships Final at Royal Randwick last year after the mare ran second in the wildcard qualifier at Muswellbrook.
However, the leading Goulburn trainer has never won his home track heat and is determined to tick that off the list in 2017.
He has nominated four horses for the $150,000 South East Racing Association heat of the Country Championships this Saturday including three who have won at Royal Randwick this preparation.
“The form around those horses is very good going into a race like this,” Williams said.
“Pumpkin Pie is the pick of the four and is already the second favourite for the final.
“She is absolutely flying at the moment and has beaten older, more experienced horses.”
The Star Witness filly has won three of her five starts to date.
At her last outing in a BM67 1400m at Royal Randwick on Australia Day, Pumpkin Pie led all the way to win by a length.
She also had an easy trial over 800m last week where she finished with last year’s Goulburn Country Championships winner, Lofty’s Menu.
“She is the sort of horse who puts herself in the race and makes her own luck,” Williams said.
“We just need the surface to be right on Saturday. She doesn’t like it too wet.
“If she wins we will consider running her in a group race in the next couple of weeks, possibly the Surround Stakes at Randwick.”
Dual TAB Highway winner I Told Georgie will also fly the Williams flag in the Goulburn Country Championships.
She has won two of her last three starts and 1400m suits her at this point in her preparation.
“She is forward and fit and coming off a brilliant win last start against a very strong field,” Williams said.
“I expect her to be competitive. She just needs a little bit of cut in the ground so she doesn’t jar up.
“I haven’t had to do much with her since her last start as she likes to be fresh.”
Five-year-old mare Shutterbug is back for another tilt at the Country Championships, after running 7th in last year’s Goulburn heat.
“She is a better horse now,” Williams said.
“She had a good win at Randwick on Boxing Day but her last couple of runs haven’t gone to plan.
“It was a luckless run when she finished 5th at Randwick and she raced too keenly in the start after that.
“Dropping back to 1400m will suit her and a barrier trial last week finished her off nicely.
“She is spot on going into this race.
“If the track is firm I expect her be very competitive as well, especially at home.”
Commands gelding Vee Eight rounds out Williams’ quartet.
Unlike the other three, he is real mud runner and his two wins to date have been on tracks rated Heavy 10.
“His run at Goulburn last Friday was far below our expectations but the track was just too firm for him,” Williams said.
“He will be fine to back up and hopefully he can bounce back and regain his confidence.
“I don’t usually like having more than one horse from the stable in any race but opportunities like this are too good to pass up.
“I’m looking forward to Saturday and am confident of a good result.”