The Return of U May Cullect

The Return of U May Cullect

Bruce Stewart

14th February 2021

“I don’t get emotional but I did today,” was the comment made by Tom Kilkelly owner of U May Cullect winner of the DT Kings Transport Riverton Cup yesterday. “It was just super,” he said.

The win at the Riverton Racemeeting held at Ascot Park was the seven year old’s first since June 2019 and has turned the corner on a frustrating run of form outside the province.

There was no doubting the horse’s class but Kilkelly and trainers Kirstin Barclay and Tank Ellis did have a few unanswered questions.

“Kirstin said if we can run in the first four today we’d be rapt. The other horses were race hardened and the he’s only had a couple of workouts. Last time (season) we had a plan and we were trying to achieve that plan whereas this time there is no plan.”

In yesterday’s feature, driver Kirstin Barclay gave U May Cullect the perfect run and inside the last 400 metres moved him up on the back of Vintage Cheddar to be near the lead. Once he was balanced for the run home she moved him off the back of Vintage Cheddar and he got up to win by a neck.

U May Cullect getting the better of Vintage Cheddar

“Kirstin said he was flat at the end but he just dug in that last bit.”

The winning time of 3-17.9 was a new Southland, track and race record. The previous race record was held by Pulp Fiction (3-22.3) while the previous track and Southland record of 3-19.8 was held by Robyns Playboy. The New Zealand record of 3-17.3 is held by Triple Eight.

Returning to the birdcage with a fist pump on the side from Tom Kilkelly

After spending some time at Oreti Beach U May Cullect is now based at the Tisbury arm of the stable.

“He’s got a nice paddock there, him and his mate, and they don’t get boxed.”

Winning connections and sponsor

U May Cullect’s success capped off a remarkable few days for Barclay and Ellis who won their first Group One race with Watch Me Now on Friday night at Addington.

It was the second time the Barclay/Ellis partnership has won the Riverton Cup – their first, in 2019 with Paddyproudfoot.

Kilkelly also tasted success earlier in the programme when Chuckles, trained by Craig Ferguson won the Invercargill Licensing Trust – The Rocks Mobile Pace.

Meanwhile the Southland Trotting Oaks is under consideration for yesterday’s Gold Chip winner Peregrine.

The Pegasus Spur filly owned by Penny Baynes and trained by Brett Gray impressed, winning in the hands of Brent Barclay by three and three quarter lengths.

Peregrine in the Brent Barclay winning her second race

First starter Quaddie VC added to the depth of three year olds in the Southland province when he won the Fear The Dragon – Taramea Bay Mobile Pace.

Quaddie VC winning on debut

The winning crew

Bred by Cleland Murdoch and Gary Allen the Washington VC gelding is trained at Ascot Park by Murray Brown. The gelding who holds a nomination for the New Zealand Derby, was the hottest favourite of the day.