Huge effort gets Paddy home

By Jonny Turner

Kirstin Barclay produced yet another brilliant training and driving performance as Paddyproudfoot announced his return to racing with victory in the Tuapeka Cup on Sunday.

In just his second start in almost two years, the six-year-old reeled in the hot favourite Robyns Playboy to claim win the 2700m feature in its first ever running at Ascot Park.

In his break from racing of nearly 23 months, after running fourth at the 2019 New Zealand Cup Carnival, Paddyproudfoot was in an ongoing battle with injuries.

Those problems looked a distant memory when the pacer charged late to win, pulling off a brilliantly executed plan back to feature race glory plotted by his trainer-driver.

“This time in he has been really sound and the last few weeks we have been able to step up his workload quite a bit and that paid off today,” Barclay said.

While out of training Paddyproudfoot enjoyed his downtime a little too much, which has been Barclay’s only issue in his new campaign.

“He is not very big, he is pony-sized and he puts on a lot of weight.”

“Getting the condition off him without hurting him – work-wise – has been tricky.”

Paddyproudfoot sat on the back of the leader and favourite Robyns Playboy throughout and unleashed sizzling closing sectionals to signal he hadn’t lost any of his high speed in his time away from racing.

The performance effectively booked the horse’s ticket to next month’s New Zealand Cup Carnival.

“That is the plan, we will take him back to the beach next week and probably head to Addington now,” Barclay said.

“Fingers crossed we can get up there and do the job again, he does love racing up there.”

Paddyproudfoot’s owners Peter and Julie Duffy and Brian and Rosemary Duggan have had to be patient during the horse’s injury battles.

Barclay credited the two couples for keeping their faith in her plan to get their horse back to his best.

“They’re unbelievable owners, they don’t like me ringing them because every time I have normally rung them it has been with some bad news.”

“They’re really, really good owners and they trust my judgment.”

Robyns Playboy lost few admirers in defeat, just being nabbed late after setting up the Tuapeka Cup’s fast 55.1sec closing 800m.

Barclay also picked up another win on Tuapeka Cup day when Insarchatwist was promoted to victory in race 7 following the disqualification of American Eyretime.

Trainer Alister Black celebrated his birthday in style with a winning double at Sunday’s meeting.

Black first produced Don’t Ask for an effortless front-running win in race 4 for driver Brad Williamson.

The trainer and driver combined again with Idealism who impressively shrugged off early pressure to take out race 9.

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