Vintage Cheddar’s Turn
20th March 2021
Southland is fortunate to have a very strong group of Country Cup horses this season and today it was the consistent Vintage Cheddar’s turn to win.
Pre-race debate centred on the handicaps and how this would play out in today’s $20,000 Winton Businesses Cup.
Vintage Cheddar and Brent Barclay head out prior to the Winton Cup
The main players were expected to be Robyns Playboy (20 metres), Vintage Cheddar and U May Cullect (30 metres) and backmarker Pembrook Playboy who was starting off 40 metres.
When the tapes were released Pembrook Playboy galloped, adding at least 10 metres to his handicap while Vintage Cheddar settled sixth behind pacemaker Sagwitch.
Sagwitch leading the Winton Cup with just under a lap to run.
When Memphis Tennessee moved up on the outside running line inside the last 1000 metres driver Brent Barclay slotted Vintage Cheddar on his back with U May Cullect and Pembrook Playboy getting into that train.
At the 400 Barclay moved Vintage Cheddar out three wide and U May Cullect and Pembrook Playboy started to make their runs.
On straightening, he encouraged the six year old to power up and he shot two lengths clear of his two main rivals. That was the winning of the race – Vintage Cheddar holding on to beat the late charging U May Cullect by a diminishing three quarters of a length, with Pembrook Playboy a half a length back in third.
“Yeah, went super. He got a beautiful run and when Brent asked him to go he went. It was perfect. And good to get one back on Nathan (Williamson – Pembrook Playboy). He’s been a force to be reckoned with all season and finally we were able to turn the tables on him,” said trainer Alister Black.
Vintage Cheddar (7) winning the 2021 Winton Cup
Heading back with trainer Alister Black
Vintage Cheddar’s time was 2-57.9 while U May Cullect ran the journey post to post in 2-58.1 and Pembrook Playboy 2-57.3. The last 800 metres off the front was 56.4 and 400 27.3.
“It’s very competitive and I’d say this would be the strongest the Country Cups grade has been for a while. They’re all pretty even.”
It was a first for Brent Barclay to win his home town cup. His father Keith won the race in 1977 with Forward Play.
Black says Vintage Cheddar’s main end of season aim is the Group One $100,000 Easter Cup at Addington on 3rd April.
“He still has to front up to the top liners, which he hasn’t done, but he’s raced the tier underneath and been very competitive. We might go to Christchurch for a couple of Free For All’s then he’ll go to the Easter Cup and come home for the Country Cups Final and that’ll probably be us for the season.”
Vintage Cheddar is owned by Lindsay and Ian Thomson.
Earlier in the day Black won with three year old trotting filly Dont Ask, owned by Lindsay Thomson.
“She trotted all the way and that’s twice she’s got round now. I’ll probably wait until the Gold Chip Final. She just has to learn her trade. She’ll be better next season.”