U May Cullect’s whirlwind career over
By Jonny Turner
Trainer-driver Kirstin Barclay and owner Tom Kilkelly have called time on the whirlwind career of U May Cullect.
The injury-plagued pacer pulled up with a leg issue after chasing home Self Assured and South Coast Arden at Addington on Friday night.
The problem was enough for Barclay and Kilkelly to immediately retire their popular pacer.
Though there was sadness that his incredible journey in racing was over, there was relief in his camp as the pacer could now be able enjoy his retirement.
“In some ways it is sad but the horse just tried so hard and I was disappointed when he couldn’t finish it off on Friday night.”
“He started grabbing a rein later in the race and when he came back in and his leg blew up it was a bit of a relief because there was a reason for it.”
Barclay and U May Cullect formed a special bond during their headline-grabbing association.
The trainer-driver credited the pacer’s high cruising speed for making him such a brilliant racehorse.
“He had such a high cruising speed, even though he couldn’t finish it off on Friday night he was so happy just rolling along.”
“Some of those runs when he pulled a 25sec quarter were amazing.”
“It will be a long time before I get another one like that again, I think.”
U May Cullect burst onto the Southland harness racing scene, winning his first seven starts.
The more he raced, the more popular the horse got.
In win seven, the gelding beat open class horses in Classie Brigade and Triple Eight at listed level at Addington.
The victory led to U May Cullect being named the 2019 Southland Horse Of The Year.
After just one more start in 2019, the pacer was struck down by injury, not for the first time in his career.
Suspensory ligament problems stopped the brilliant pacer’s career before he even got to the races as a five-year-old.
After a year-long rehab following his winning run in 2019, the pacer couldn’t produce his best in a 2020 New Zealand Cup campaign in which another injury scare put his career in jeopardy.
After a short let-up U May Cullect showed his class again with a huge fresh up win in the Riverton Cup before showing his signature speed with a sizzling 25.8sec last 400m to win his next start over a mile against Southland’s best pacers including Pembrook Playboy, Vintage Cheddar and Robyns Playboy.
“He broke down before he even got to the races, so he was never sound,” Barclay said.
“To do what he did, and to come back a second time was pretty special.”
“That time we couldn’t quite put it all together, but after a short let up to win two nice races in a row (including the Riverton Cup) was great.”
A happy retirement awaits U May Cullect.
Barclay will now work on getting the pacer broken in for riding.