Hannon Hopefuls Warm Up

Hannon Hopefuls Warm Up

Bruce Stewart

9th September 2021.

There’s always a fair amount of excitement around the best pacers starting off their season as they aim for the big dance – the New Zealand Cup in November.

Southland’s open class quartet U May Cullect, Vintage Cheddar, Robyns Playboy and Pembrook Playboy took their first step in the new season when they all trialled at the Wyndham races today.

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

“He went nice. He was just a bit casual in front which he can be when he’s hasn’t got another horse siting 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.

Southland’s leading stake earner this season Pembrook Playboy, who trailed Vintage Cheddar for most of the trial was full of stream at the end of the trail and driver Nathamn 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 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).