Barclay bounces back with Riverton double

By Garrick Knight

Life has gone on for Kirstin Barclay and Tank Ellis, even after the most bitter of blows.

It’s horse training 101 – even after losing your best horse to injury, you still have to get up and train the rest of the team.

Luckily for Barclay and Ellis after the injury setback to U May Cullect, their remaining squad is pretty decent, evidenced by their pair of wins at Ascot Park on Sunday with Paddyproudfoot and Somethings Burning.

Paddyproudfoot’s story is not dissimilar to U May Cullect’s in that he too has overcome a couple of significant setbacks in his career.

Yesterday’s win in the $15,000 Riverton Cup was the realisation of the faith Barclay has always had in him and the patience she has shown.

“It was gutting to lose U May Cullect but the season’s not over, it’s only just starting,” she told HRNZ.

“I’ve always had a really high opinion of Paddyproudfoot – he’s got really high speed and can stay a bit too.

“Throw in his standing start manners and he should make a tidy, wee country cups horse this season.”

He debuted with big raps as a three-year-old this time two years ago, ultimately running second.

But he wouldn’t be seen again at the races for a full year.

“He got a really bad virus after that first race as a three-year-old and just could never shake it.

“He kept getting crook all the time so he chucked him out.”

Resuming this time last year, he ran second to Mighty Flying Art at Winton before injury struck, this time a hairline fracture in a pastern.

Thankfully it wasn’t season-ending and he bounced back in the autumn to win four races, including two on a trip north to Canterbury and the Tasman region.

Now it’s full steam ahead and Barclay and Ellis are considering their options, which could include another trip north.

“There is a race for him at Addington on Show Day, a standing start that we had him ear-marked for.

“Whether we carry on to that will be something Tank and I discuss in the coming days.”

The wheels have come off a planned stable strike on Cup week through U May Cullect’s injury and the sale last week of the stable’s best trotter, Wee Man Trouble, to Queensland interests.

He was scratched from his engagement at Ascot Park on Sunday in the day’s feature trot, but that didn’t stop the stable from winning the race.

With a 30-metre head start on all-bar-one of her opponents, Barclay seized the opportunity to make a race of it with improving two-win mare, Somethings Burning.

Well clear of the field, which included Group 1 performers Majestic Man, Monty Python and Dark Horse, for most of the race, she was never reeled in.

The daring steer completed not just a training, but a driving double for Barclay, who also bred and co-owns the daughter of Majestic Son with Julie Kilkelly.

“Julie and I bred her; she was my first foray in to breeding.

“The dam is a half-sister to The Fiery Ginga and every foal she’s left looks like being pretty decent.

“The next one, Smokin Bandar, has a stack of ability but keeps going sore and then the three-year-old out of her also has a fair bit of ability.”

Barclay was quietly confident heading in to the race after some excellent training mid-week.

“Her work was quite phenomenal up the beach this week.”

Completing a good day for Barclay and Ellis were the placings by Betterthanbrie, Hampton and Undercover Mac but that doesn’t quite take away the pain of not being in the country’s biggest race in three weeks’ time.

“It’s heart-breaking, you know.

“You walk him (U May Cullect) out of the box and he’s sound as a bell, the tendon injury doesn’t show at all.

“It looks unreal, but the scans tell a different story.”

Treatment plans are being discussed at present but the most likely option is a stem cell transplant.

“We are doing our homework on that now and talking to the vets about a treatment plan.”

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