Brent Barclay reining Smokey mac to victory earlier this season. Photo: Wild Range Photography.
Brent Barclay is set to become Southland’s leading driver this season following the accident which has felled Nathan Williamson.
Barclay and Williamson were locked in a very tight tussle a few weeks ago, but whereas Williamson has been sidelined with a broken foot, Barclay has pushed on with a double at the Invercargill meeting last week to take his tally to 35.
Williamson has been left stranded on 33 wins and is likely to be off the scene for at least another month.
Barclay has twice been Southland’s leading driver before, firstly back in 2003 with a career best 51 wins, and before Clark Barron began a period of dominance.
Barclay has eight drives in the nine races available to him at Ascot Park on Saturday and rates the filly Flash Party in the Ryal Bush Transport Nugget Final as the best of them.
She was impressive winning on debut at the Winton meeting three weeks ago for Nathan Williamson, coming from last a lap out to score in a 1.59-mile rate for 2400m mobile, and has a much better draw over the same trip this weekend.
“When Nathan had some bad luck, John (co-trainer Price) was pretty quick to book me and I drove her at the Winton workouts for the first time a week ago,” said Barclay.
“They went 3.01 home in 56 and 27 and I never pulled her out – she felt really nice.
”I’ve got a pretty good book of drives to be fair but I think she would have to be the best of them.”
Flash Party is the third of three straight fillies bred by Price by American Ideal from the brilliantly-bred and well-performed Champagne Party, with the first of them being the top filly Democrat Party.
Barclay has come up with ace draw for his first two drives and says both Super Fast Pat and Ideal Conquest “shouldn’t be too far away”.
Trotting mare Moniburns “is probably a place chance at best” in the third event, but Loma Jaccka “is a good each way chance” in the fifth, again after drawing the pole.
Complete Package “will need all favours” from a second-row draw in the sixth before Barclay takes the reins on Flash Party.
“Rockaball is a speedy sort and if I can give him the right sort of run and have one crack at them, he can win.
“Young Conqueror seems to have gone off the boil a bit and really hasn’t been the same horse since he got crook during Cup Week.”
Barclay’s drives are rounded out by a first starter in Miss V C and “she is entitled to be a bit of a roughie”.