Another Cullen brings up 50

by Dave Di Somma, Harness News Desk 

What is it with the sons of Christian Cullen bringing up their 50th wins in the USA?

Last weekend it was Christen Me (Christian Cullen – Splendid Dreams) who brought up the milestone in Ohio.

The former New Zealand Horse of the Year, now owned by champion driver Dexter Dunn, had 32 wins in Australasia, including 11 Group Ones, before securing 18 victories in North America.

And he’s not alone, with Crocket’s Cullen (Christian Cullen – Let It Be) recently doing the same at Saratoga in New York State.

Bred by North Canterbury's David Cottrell, he named the yearling after himself.

“I was always called Davy Crockett and I thought why not.”

Foaled in 2011 , the colt was sold at the yearling sales to clients of Brent Mangos for $30,000.

“He’s stunning looking – just like his sire,” says Cottrell.

Cottrell had little to do with the horse after that but has kept tabs on him throughout his career.

Crocket’s Cullen was a “bit crazy” but still won three from 15 before being sold to Australia in 2016, where he won another 11 times in Victoria and New South Wales.

He then headed stateside where he is now owned, trained and driven by Larry Stalbaum in New York.

The combo have had extraordinary success at Saratoga, where he's twice been named Pacer of the Year. The now 10-year-old has had 36 wins in the USA from 118 starts.

“He’s a typical Christian Cullen,” says Cottrell, “the breed needs time to mature and I knew he’d improve but not to the extent he has.”

There have been times when Crocket’s Cullen has won 9 and ten races in a row.

“In front and with things going his own way he’s unbeatable.”

Crocket's Cullen was the fourth of nine foals out of Let It Be, and the first not to be given a Beatles-related name. Let It Be's dam was Paperback Writer. The first foal was a top performer in Band On The Run, who won nine from 15 for trainer Cran Dalgety before heading offshore.

Cottrell is planning to breed again from the sixth foal, Crocket's Cullen's full sister Mrs Vandebilt.

Now 12, Mrs Vandebilt has had four foals including Ann Sophie who ran sixth on debut at Addington on February 18.

As the new generation steps out onto the racetrack Cottrell watches Crocket's Cullen's progress with pride from afar.

Already this year he's had a win, a second and two thirds from fourth starts.

"They seem to race every week for three quarters of the year!"

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