U May Cullect to continue campaign
By Jonny Turner
Though he has not been at his best recently, hopes are high harness racing fans will get to see U May Cullect in full flight this season.
The Kirstin Barclay and Tank Ellis trained southern sensation disappointed in his last outing in Self Assured’s Canterbury Classic at Addington last Friday when finishing last of the seven runners to complete the group 2 feature.
U May Cullect hung during the race, something he has not done in the past.
That sparked fears the injury-plagued pacer, who battled serious tendon injuries, could pull up with a problem once he had cooled down in the hours following his performance.
U May Cullect has remained in Canterbury at Brendon Hill’s Swannanoa stable in the care of his co-trainer, Tank Ellis, following the Canterbury Classic.
Owner Tom Kilkelly was relieved when he got a good report on the horse’s troublesome tendons when his pacer underwent a veterinary inspection early this week.
“They have had the vet there on Monday and Tuesday and they have had the farrier work on him,” Kilkelly said.
“The scans from the original problem were sent up to the vet in Christchurch and he scanned the leg and the leg is absolutely normal, there is no change whatsoever.”
It is hoped that shoeing adjustments will help resolve the issue that caused U May Cullect to hang in the Canterbury Classic.
Currently ranked 27th on the order of entry, the 7yr-old is running out of time to secure a top 15 spot in the New Zealand Cup field.
However that is not the first priority for Kilkelly, whose sole focus is seeing U May Cullect work his way back to his best form.
“Tank is up there with the horses and I said don’t worry about timeframes for the cup or anything.”
“If we can get there, we get there, but the main thing is to get the horse right.”
“He thinks they are on track with the farrier and the vet.”
Though U May Cullect has finished well out of contention in his past two runs, he has still managed to reel off some fast closing sectionals.
The pacer was officially clocked to run his last 800m in the Canterbury Classic in 55.23sec.
U May Cullect was unofficially timed to run his last 800m in 54.2sec behind Classie Brigade in the Hannon Memorial in his prior run.
Those efforts and his latest prognosis also have Kilkelly confident that U May Cullect’s legions of fans will see him at his best again.
“He is coming right and I am confident we are going to get him back to his best.”
Despite U May Cullect’s disappointing run on Friday night, the Addington meeting was a good one for the Kirstin Barclay and Tank Ellis stable.
The trainers produced Allabout Time to win the Harness Million Three-Year-old Fillies Consolation, before Watch Me Now produced one of the performances of the night to win in rating 64-70 company.
Watch Me Now will have her first standing start in race 10 at Methven on Sunday ahead of her main immediate aim, the group 2 Southland Oaks Final on October 29.
The Barclay-Ellis stable also start a five strong team at the Northern Southland meeting at Ascot Park on Saturday.