U May Cullect remains unbeaten in Uncut Gems Classic
By Jonny Turner
Trainer-driver Kirstin Barclay called on U May Cullect’s grit and determination for the first time and he answered to win Uncut Gems Classic in a thrilling finish
at Addington on Friday night.
Barclay, who trains the boom 5yr-old in partnership with Paul ‘Tank’ Ellis was forced to get urgent in the sulky after U May Cullect gave his legion of fans a reminder he is just a baby in racing terms by racing greenly in the run home.
The trainer-driver said her seven start freak show “got lost” and raced greenly when taking the passing lane in the listed $40,000 feature.
Barclay attributed that to the horse not having taken a passing lane before or having been in tight finish among other runners.
The scenario set U May Cullect a bigger task than he should have faced after getting a favourable run in the trail, behind Classie Brigade.
By the time the post came up, U May Cullect again showed he had not yet faced a harness racing hurdle he could not overcome by scoring by a nose in a driving finish.
“He got lost up the back, so I had to pull the plugs, then he wanted to get going,” Barclay said.
“After that he started switching off, I think it was just inexperience.”
Though U May Cullect only overhauled runner-up, Classie Brigade, in the shadows of the post, Barclay felt the win was more comfortable than it may have appeared.
“Once I gave him a reminder I always knew he was going to get there, because eventually he figured out it was time to go.”
“He was just a bit shy of taking the passing lane, but once he got his head in front of the other horse he picked up and after the line he was off and gone again.”
U May Cullect’s victory looks to have made two significant marks on his career.
The win meant Barclay and Ellis could officially sign off the pacer’s incredible first racing preparation and send him for a short spell.
That time out will serve as the break the formerly injury plagued pacer needs before he starts on a path towards the New Zealand Cup.
“He will have at least three weeks, we don’t want to give him a big spell while his legs are so good.”
“He will have just enough to have a bit of a freshen.”
Barclay and Ellis will aim U May Cullect at standing start events when he returns to racing in an attempt to further their inexperienced pacer’s racing ringcraft.
“He is great behind the gate, but he has just been getting a bit racey,” Barclay said.
“So, we will just put him in stands to settle him down and let him learn to relax a bit more.”
U May Cullect’s victory made a second significant mark, by effectively sealing his claim to be crowned Southland harness horse of the year.
His Uncut Gems Classic win provided the 5yr-old with his first listed or group race victory.
Only one other horse trained in Southland – Get Lucky - has claimed a black type win this season.
U May Cullect looks a strong favourite to take the province’s title over the Alister Black trained trotter.