By Dave Di Somma, Harness News desk
Star pacer Pembrook Playboy is on the verge of a race day comeback.
The winner of 11 from 27 starts was cruelly denied a start in last year’s New Zealand Cup after suffering a leg injury just days out from the big race.
As it turned out it wasn’t too serious.
“We were lucky really,” says trainer-driver Nathan Williamson, “he had torn a muscle in his hindquarters.”
His recovery since has gone well, with Williamson gradually increasing the five-year-old’s workload to the point where he’s had a “quiet” workout, and goes to the trials on Friday.
“It’s a huge relief,” says Williamson, “he appears to have no ill effects and he’s just the same as he was.”
Known for his devastating sprint, Pembrook Playboy was seen by many to be peaking at the right time for the New Zealand Cup. He finished third behind Self Assured and Classie Brigade in the Ashburton Flying Stakes, second in the Canterbury Classic behind South Coast Arden, and fourth in the Hannon Memorial.
“He is certainly a very good horse and if he’s hiccup-free he can match it with the best of them,” says Williamson.
In the Group Three 2021 Summer Cup at Addington he proved that by beating Self Assured, Thefixer, and Classie Brigade.
The first target this season is the Invercargill Cup on January 29.
“We would like to try and defend our title,” says Williamson, “but he does depends on what handicap he gets. We don’t want it to be a mission impossible for him.”
Last year Pembrook Playboy beat Thefixer and Henry Hubert in the Group Three feature.
Then Williamson wants to have a crack at the Auckland Cup in May, with The Race at Cambridge in April another possibility.
“It’s exciting with all the big races coming up.”