U May Cullect’s Cup dream alive again
By Jonny Turner
Trainers Kirstin Barclay and Tank Ellis and owner Tom Kilkelly can dare to dream again after their star pacer U May Cullect got an important all clear this week.
Dunedin Vet Peter Gillespie gave the excitement machine a tick of approval to resume fast work following a scan on the tendon injury that cut short his 2019 New Zealand Cup preparation.
Barclay admitted it was hard to contain her excitement following the news.
“Its hard not to be excited with news like that,” the trainer-driver said.
“Peter was very happy with him and he gave us the all clear to start fast working him.”
U May Cullect’s latest scan came after his troublesome tendon had been closely monitored for nine months.
The winner of seven of just eight career starts started his rehabilitation process with just a five minute walk each day.
Barclay and Ellis’ patience to slowly built that up in baby steps clearly paid off with the 6yr-old successful scan.
“He is up to 45 minutes trotting now,” Barclay said.
"We started off with five minutes walking and built that up to 10 minutes, 15 minutes over the past nine months.”
Barclay gave U May Cullect some strong work ahead of this week’s crucial scan and instantly got back the magical feeling the pacer had given her in the past.
“There is nothing like driving him – he just feels so balanced.”
“I gave him a couple of bowls in the cart last week and he felt nice.”
U May Cullect’s clean winded and athletic physique, coupled with him already being jogged up, means he is just a matter of weeks away from trial or workout fitness.
But, that does not mean he will be stepping out publicly any time soon.
Barclay and Ellis plan to take a patient approach to work towards their ultimate goal – making it to this year’s New Zealand Cup.
“He won’t take much to come up – the only caution is that we will try to limit the amount of races he has before the cup to try to get him right."
“He won’t go to every cat and dog fight.”
“We will limit him to a few starts and hopefully we can qualify for the cup.”
Though he is not quite in the same realm as U May Cullect just yet, the Barclay-Ellis-Kilkelly combination have produced another exciting pacer recently in Love On The Rocks.
The 3yr-old Terror To Love pacer has impressed with two powerful post-lockdown wins.
Both have come off the unruly, with Love On The Rocks having to circle a capacity field of older, race hardened horses in his second Ascot Park victory.
“He is a pretty sharp horse,’ Barclay said.
“Having to come off the unruly again a go around them – I know he got a drag in to it – but it was a big effort.”
“He is a pretty sharp wee horse.”
Love On The Rocks will come off the unruly in race 10 at Ascot Park on Thursday.
The 3yr-old is ineligible for the upcoming Sires Stakes and Sales Series races, which could persuade his trainers to send him for a short spell soon.
“He is not paid up for anything, so we might just give him this start and give him a wee spell and get him ready for the new season,” Barclay said.