Hannon Hopefuls Warm Up

Hannon Hopefuls Warm Up

Bruce Stewart

9th September 2021.

There’s always anticipation as the best pacers begin their season with their aim the big dance – the New Zealand Cup in November.

Southland’s open class quartet U May Cullect, Vintage Cheddar, Robyns Playboy and Pembrook Playboy made their debuts for the season, trialling in the same race at the Wyndham meeting today.

Vintage Cheddar prior to today’s trials win

The trial was taken out narrowly by Vintage Cheddar. He lead for most of the 2400 metres and narrowly beat Pembrook Playboy by half a head.

“He went nice. He was just a bit casual in front which he can be when he hasn’t got another horse sitting outside of him,” said trainer Alister Black after the run. The winning time for Vintage Cheddar was 3-10.8 with the last 800 metres run in 57. 6 and 400 metres in 29.6 on a slushy track.

Down to the line

A closer look

Southland’s leading stake earner this season Pembrook Playboy, who trailed Vintage Cheddar for most of the race was full of steam at the end and driver Nathan Williamson didn’t let him go.

“Yeah, happy. We could have gone a little bit quicker. He comes to hand really quickly. He felt nice and he’s healthy and forward enough. He’ll come on too with the run in the Hannon. We’ve got ten days until the Hannon and we’ll keep stepping him up until then,” he said.

The Ross and Chris Wilson trained Robyns Playboy was third, a half a length back.

“Pretty happy.  He needed the run because he’s only had four fast runs since the lockdown. He always surprises us with his fitness,” Ross Wilson said.

Robyns Playboy ran second in last year’s Hannon, two lengths behind Classie Brigade.

U May Cullect finished a few lengths behind the other three after being slow to get away.

“His fitness told in the end. We’ll miss the Hannon and work at home a bit longer. I think the other guys have got the jump on us fitness wise at the moment. We’ll look after him and find another trial and go from there,” trainer/ driver Kirstin Barclay said after the run.

“It’s in the hard basket. He’s an unsound horse so you have to nurse him along and get him fit without doing too much with him. I also haven’t been able to get down to the beach,” she added.

The last Southland winners on The Hannon were Franco Ledger (2012 and 2013), Freeway Don (1999), Bee Bee Cee (1994) and Giovanetto (1992).