Kilkelly finds dream horse
NZ HARNESS NEWS
A sensational mile victory by U May Cullect was enough to convince long-time Southland owner Tom Kilkelly he has found his best horse yet.
The five-year-old produced a booming finish from off the pace to score in 1.52.1, clearly the fastest time on the Wairio Trotting Club’s Mile Day at Winton on Saturday.
Kilkelly admitted the hairs on the back of his neck stood up when U May Cullect powered down the outside of the track to win by more than eight lengths for trainer-driver Kirstin Barclay.
“There are only two horses that have made the hair on the back of my neck stand up, that is Guns N Roses and him,” said Kilkelly.
“And I think this fellow could be the best I have ever had.”
Guns N Roses was known for his brilliant turn of foot, when Killkelly raced the pacer between 2009 and 2013.
Kilkelly said Barclay was equally impressed by U May Cullect’s effort on Saturday.
“He went 0.1sec outside the track record and Kirstin said at the end of it ‘I still had a handful’.
“And she said I have driven cup horses and this horse is better than anything I have ever driven in my life.”
Franco Santino set the all-age mile record for male pacers at the same meeting last year when pacing 1.52.0 to win.
U May Cullect was just 0.2sec outside the all-comers record of 1.51.9, set by Delightful Memphis in 2017.
Kilkelly and Barclay have been forced to take a patient approach with their exciting pacer, who has been plagued by leg injuries.
“Our patience seems to paying off,” Kilkelly said.
“We walked him for a month before we started jogging him and then brought him up slowly.”
U May Cullect has been in Kilkelly and Barclay’s care for much of his five years.
Kilkelly purchased the Gotta Go Cullect gelding, from the Albert Albert mare, Ides of May, as a weanling for $5200.
“We bought him at the all-aged sale in Auckland; I liked the family and I just bought him on that.
“We have bought a few over the years, sometimes you get a decent one and other times you don’t.”
Santanna’s Rocket clocked the second-best time on the Wairio Trotting Club’s Mile Day when pacing a 1.53.7 mile in rating 56-70 company.
The victory continued the sensational form of trainer Syd Breen.
Junior driver Ellie Barron scored the second winning double of her short career at Winton on Sunday.
Barron picked a perfect path for Nottingham VC to weave through and get up late to win in rating 40-55 trotting company.
The reinswoman scored back-to-back wins when Paduka produced a tough effort to win his first start from Clark Barron's stable.