U May Cullect simply stunning
By Jonny Turner
U May Cullect was at his stunning best when unleashing a sensational final 400m to beat a small but select free-for-all field at Winton on Thursday.
The popular pacer helped heat up cool conditions at Central Southland Raceway with his red-hot 25.8sec last 400m to beat rising star Pembrook Playboy.
Driver and co-trainer Kirstin Barclay seized the opportunity to settle in front of the runner-up when Nathan Williamson elected not to push forward with the runner-up.
After being left to control the race in front, the reinswoman and her classy pacer made all of her rivals pay with his sizzling speed in the mile (1609m) free-for-all.
“He has got a very fast quarter (400m) in him,” Barclay said.
“Nathan’s horse is a very classy horse and he has a bit of race fitness on us.”
“When Nathan didn’t go forward out of the gate I thought that was my chance.”\
“We worked a wee bit early, but then we got an easy sectional and it just made it too hard for the other ones to catch us.”
The victory continued a dream return for the injury-plagued pacer trained by Barclay and training partner Tank Ellis following a frustrating spring campaign.
Barclay has taken the approach to go into the autumn without having specific plans for U May Cullect.
That means not even next week’s Northern Southland Cup is a certain target for him.
“So far everything has gone well, we haven’t had a plan.”
“A few people have said what’s next, we would like to be at Northern Southland, but we are really just babying him along this time and giving him a few days off after each race.”
“If he’s right we will go again and if not we will just hold off until the next one.”
Pembrook Playboy’s effort for second should serve as a perfect lead into next week’s Northern Southland Cup.
The four-year-old ran on strongly when effectively being left without a mathematical winning hope on the race’s incredible final 400m time.
The Williamson stable went one better in Thursday’s free-for-all trot when Dark Horse delivered a similar win to U May Cullect’s victory.
Driver Craig Ferguson kept his unbeaten record behind the eight-year-old intact when she
left her six rivals with absolutely no excuses when she sat parked throughout.
Dark Horse reeled off an electric 26.8sec last 400m to beat Rydgemont Son.
The trotter will now progress to next weekend’s Southern Lights Feature Trot on Northern Southland Cup Day.
There will be no complaints from Ferguson if Williamson does not want to break a winning combination and keeps him in the sulky.
“I will definitely be putting my hand up, I am just about glued to the seat now,” the reinsman said.
“She is a lovely horse.”
“She felt good the whole race and when I asked her she really dug in.”
Williamson also had a hand in another of the feature race victories at Winton, driving the Alister Black trained Idealism to win Thursday’s graduation final.