Ben Williams to honour late owner at Ewan

A dry eye might be hard to find in the Ben Williams stable if Molongle Surprise wins the Country Stampede Qualifier at Ewan in North Queensland on Friday.

The Townsville trainer hopes to dedicate a win in the 1000 metre feature to the gelding's owner, grazier Trevor Davies, who passed away recently.

Davies, who was in his 80's, owned a cattle property at Gumlu, half way between Home Hill and Bowen in North Queensland, and was a long-time supporter of Ben Williams.

Davies passed away in July before Molongle Surprise started his latest campaign which included his two starts in the Lightning and Cleveland Bay Handicaps in Townsville last month.

"Trevor and his wife Gloria are two of the best owners I've ever trained for and they never interfered with how I train," Williams said.

"He was a life member of the Home Hill Turf Club and if Molongle Surprise wins I'll dedicate the win to Trevor."

Molongle Surprise was narrowly beaten by the Georgina Holt-trained Bones in the Lightning Handicap at Cluden Park on August 6 before beating two home in the Cleveland Bay, which was won by Isis Carmella.

"His Lightning run was very good and there was only a bob of the head in the finish but there were no excuses," Williams said.

"But, he carried a lot of weight that day and had to give four kilos to the winner, who was on the minimum."

Williams blamed a quick six-day back-up for the seven-year-old's below par performance in the Cleveland Bay.

"It was his first run over 6 1⁄2 f but it was his third run in just over three weeks and his second run in six days after the Lightning," he said.

"He just didn't back-up, so I have since given him a few weeks in the paddock to freshen up."

Williams' confidence with Molongle Surprise stems from his record on dirt tracks.

"Ewan is a dirt track with some grass coverage and he's won his only two starts on the dirt," he said.

"He won his second start back in 2000 by eight lengths in a maiden at Pentland and then he stepped up to win a Class 3 race at Charters Towers by more than four lengths on the dirt at his next run."

The Country Stampede qualifier is the first of 16 heats to be conducted across the state ahead of the Country Stampede Final over 5 1⁄2 f at Doomben on December 2.

The first heat over 5 f has attracted 11 nominations on the seven-race program which also includes the Ewan Cup, a Benchmark 70 race over 1750 metres.

Sign up for our free newsletter.

© 2023 Sky Racing World. All rights reserved.