Henry Hubert too good in Northern Southland Cup
NZ HARNESS NEWS
The wayward tendencies of Henry Hubert reared their head again in the Group 3 Northern Southland Cup at Ascot Park on Saturday but the gelding was good enough to overcome them, even after galloping for about 100 metres at the start.
“He just panics,” driver John Dunn said.
The problem also emerged when he was hot favourite on his first visit to Ascot Park, in January of last year.
After losing considerable ground, he finished out of the placings. He won his next start and would have figured in the Super Nugget at this meeting last year but had been gelded and didn't recover in time.
“He's always had plenty of ability and was good enough to run fifth in the Derby after that,” Dunn said.
Henry Hubert went north then and in three starts from behind the mobile, recorded a win, second and fourth.
“He goes good at Alexandra Park; he'll go back there this year for the Messenger and Taylor Mile.”
Prior to that, the four-year-old by Bettor's Delight will be tested at Group 1 level against all ages in the Easter Cup.
Foremost in Dunn's mind will be getting him away on terms with the field. The horse clearly has the class to do the rest.
Despite steering Spellbound to win a pair of Group 3 juvenile filly features six days apart, Dunn is still waiting to give her the run to suit.
“You can't waste a good draw in a small field,” Dunn said after adding the $30,000 Caduceus Club of Southland and Alabar Fillies Classic, at Ascot Park on Saturday, to her Leonard Memorial at Addington last weekend.
“I think she would be better making just one run though.”
Dunn said the filly will have a short break now before returning for a Sires Stakes heat and the Jewels.
Five-year-old U May Cullect, who clocked 2:41.2 when winning on debut on Saturday by four lengths, was nearly sold by his Invercargill owner Tom Kilkelly a couple of years earlier.
“He won a workout as a three-year-old, I was offered $50,000 for him from Sydney and the next day he popped a tendon,” said Kilkelly, who had acquired the half-brother to Victoria May as a weanling at an Auckland mixed sale.
“We brought him back at four and he went again so I gave him longer out on a hill break at Riverton.”
Winning driver and co-trainer Kirstin Barclay was quick to credit the recovery of U May Cullect to the time her training partner Paul Ellis devotes to the horse at their Oreti Beach headquarters.