Plenty Of Chuckles
Chuckles continued his great run for owner Tom Kilkelly and trainers Kirstin Barclay and Tank Ellis when he won the second to last Nuggets Final at Ascot Park today. And it was fitting that the race was sponsored by Kilkelly’s business Regent Car Court.
It was only the Grinfromeartoear gelding’s third start after he qualified at Wyndham in November last year.
“He qualified really nice but had a wind problem so he had to go away and have an operation. He’s come a long way in a short time,” said Barclay.
The three year old is out of the Badlands Hanover mare Uroc On and is named after master horseman Mark Purdon.
“The horse’s stable name is Mark. Tom and Julie used to sit and watch Mark on Trackside interviews and he always had a wee chuckle so that’s how he got his name.”
From Gate Six Barclay worked Chuckles to the front before handing up to stablemate Hampton and then Tulsa Jaccka. When Love The Blues became the fourth leader Chuckles was posted four back on the inside. With 800 metres to run Jaffie J started to move up. Barclay gave Chuckles a flick with the reins and he got onto that runners back. With 500 metres to go she got Chuckles into top gear and he sprinted hard three wide.
“I knew Wayne’s one (Tulsa Jaccka) had a good turn of foot so I wanted to get a bit of a break on it before it got to the lane.”
Chuckles sustained a good sprint in the run home beating Tulsa Jaccka by three quarters of a length with the winner’s stablemate Hampton making ground late for third another three quarters and a length away.
Chuckles and Kirstin Barclay beating Nathan Williamson and Tulsa Jaccka – Photo Bruce Stewart
Win number two for Chuckles – Photo Bruce Stewart
Barclay noted the gelding was keen today and that was noticeable when he was trailing Hampton early in the event.
“He just wasn’t himself today. The track was a wee bit looser, he was fresh, looking at everything and buggering around a little bit. He knuckled down when it was time to do the job.”
It was another great drive by Barclay who’s in an excellent vein of form at the moment, undoubtedly buoyed by the thrill of driving U May Cullect.
The win was one of two on today’s card for Barclay. In the last two weeks she’s won five races.
Her other win today was on the Ricky Gutsell trained Maahes which won the Southland Express Mobile Pace at odds of 34-1.
Maahes winning at Ascot Park – Photo Bruce Stewart
Winning Salute – Photo Bruce Stewart
U May Cullect Carries On
After he won on Diamonds Day a week ago it was expected that star pacer U May Cullect would be turned out for a month. But that’s now not the case.
“When Tank went to feed him the next day he was going nuts around the paddock so he just thought we’d be better to tick away with him quietly and look at races every two to three weeks. We always do precautionary scans on him. We gave him a scan last week and the leg is perfect. We’ve got no real plans. We’ll go to Winton and I’m not sure what will happen after that,” said co-trainer Kirstin Barclay.
He’s been the big find of the Southern harness racing season and he’s created talk right across the national harness scene when winning all of his four starts impressively.
“We knew he was a nice horse but the way he’s stepped up in every race has been amazing. Everything he does he does so easily. To be fair he hasn’t stepped up against quality yet but the times he’s run, especially his 1-52 mile at Winton untouched, shows he’s more than capable of going a bit quicker.”
Barclay says the horse has continued to get better and better and has taken everything in his stride.
“The big thing is that he can be keen off the gate but as soon as he’s crossed over or you ask him to come back to you after you’ve come out of the gate he just relaxes. At Addington he was keen, took a trial and just went to sleep. It was the same at Winton. He’s a pretty smart cookie and nothing really worries him.”
U May Cullect – Photo Bruce Stewart
One For The Irish – Cuchulainn
Named after a mystical Irish hero and son of the God of Luch of the Long, Cuchulainn got win number one on the board at Ascot Park today.
The four year old Skyvalley trotter was bred by Brent McIntyre of Macca Lodge in Northern Southland and is raced by McIntyre and his son Cane.
He’s out of the one win Sundon mare Come Follow Me. She’s out of the speedy mare Be Not Afraid which won nine races for The Have Fun Syndicate which was managed by Barry ‘Dusty’ Crofts.
“Dusty gave her (Come Follow Me) to us because they weren’t breeding from her. We’ve had her for the last four or so years but I think they want to come back and breed one in the future,” said Brent McIntyre who trains Cuchulainn.
Come Follow Me’s first foal was Picketts Ridge which has won four of his ten starts.
“When it (Picketts Ridge) was a foal its front legs were straight then they started to curve out. I thought I’m going to end up getting a free return because I’d have to put it down. So I put her back in foal to Skyvalley and then Picketts Ridge came right. We ended up with two (by Skyvalley) but we had too many horses so I leased Picketts Ridge out and decided to race Cuchulainn.”
The road to the races hasn’t been easy for McIntyre with Cuchulainn being a bit of a handful at the start.
“He was a bit of a trick at the start because he was a bolter. The first six or seven rounds you were hanging on but that’s how I found out he could trot. He never used to break going round the bends. The cart would be going sideways and you’d be hanging on. We mucked around with him and he slowly came right.”
McIntyre is also thankful for the sound advice handed out by today’s driver Nathan Williamson.
“Nathan’s done a great job with him at the workouts in looking after him. He said ‘you could qualify him early and go to the races or muck around with him for another month’ so we did that. He settled down and he’s quite a nice horse now.”
Today Cuchulainn trotted off the mark well and led early before handing up to South Park. With 300 metres to run Williamson eased off the inside running line as South Park began to weaken and followed Richard The Third into the straight. Richard The Third got to the front halfway down the straight but galloped leaving Cuchulainn in front and he went down the line, ears pricked, to beat Robo Trouble by a length and three quarters.
“He pulled a shoe in that race and pulled a heap of hoof off so if I can’t get a shoe on him. I’ll probably turn him out. He’s come a long way this season. He got a big hematoma where you tighten up the girth and it wouldn’t go away so that cost us about eight months. I think he’ll be a real nice horse next year.”
Cuchulainn winning at Ascot Park
Job done – Photo Bruce Stewart
Wildwest had tongues wagging at Central Southland Raceway today when he impressively won on debut by twelve and a half lengths.
“He’s always been a nice horse. We’ve always looked after him. He’s lost a bit of condition on the way through so we’ve put him aside then brought him back. He’s still a bit untapped,” says driver Brent Barclay.
The Raging Bull three year old is trained by Barclay’s partner Lauren Pearson at Winton and was sent out hot favourite on the back of some impressive workouts and trials form. With the weight of money on the horse Barclay had no option but to take the horse to the front once he was safely underway from the stand.
“I was a little bit worried at the start when he got a bit jumpy but he stepped real nice. He’s got a lot of speed and I would have liked to have seen him in behind today but in that type of field you have to drive him like the best horse.”
His time was 3-03.6. The track record for three year old colts and gelding is 3-01.3 which was recorded by Shorty’s Chance in 2009.
“It just felt like 3-10 not 3-03 but he’s very deceptive.”
The three year old has been patiently handled and local trainer Ian Jamieson managed his first two preparations.
“He used to buck a bit early on but he’s been a real gentleman lately.”
Wildwest is owned by Kevin Strong who has bred and raced many horses over the years.
“He’s had so much bad luck so that’s why we’ve looked after him. It’s just great for Kev.”
Barclay says the horse has been attracting the attention of buyers prior to his debut today.
“We’ve had a lot of interest in him but we’ll discuss that with Kev.”
And as for his future racing programme?
“Probably Invercargill. He wouldn’t be going to Gore. I got suspended. There would have been plenty lining up to drive him there (laugh).”
Pearson trained Wildwest’s dam Bay Jet which was by Jereme’s Jet. Bay Jet ran third and first at workouts but never qualified. Wildwest is her first foal.
Wildwest in by the Christian Cullen stallion Raging Bull which won five of his ten starts for Canterbury trainer Cran Dalgety.
Gray Day Turns Black
Ryal Bush trainer Bret Gray won two trotting races at Winton today but received a nasty kick on the knee for his troubles.
The culprit was his second winner Full Noise who had been suffering from his own leg issues and wasn’t a happy camper. He lashed out in the birdcage after his win when Gray went to take hold of the horses bridle.
“He had an abscess in the heel and he’s got a little bit angry with it. The abscess has been brewing for a while and it popped out last Friday. I think it’s affected him. In his last run he didn’t steer as good,” said Gray.
Driver Brent Barclay took the Majestic Son gelding straight to the front, making full use of the front line handicap and there he stayed. Stablemate King Cassidy got within a length and a quarter of Full Noise. It was the horse’s fourth win in ten starts and keeps him in the frame for next month’s Harness Jewels at Addington.
The winning time of 3-04.4 was just outside the three year old colts and gelding track record of 3-04.2 jointly held by Sky Commander and One Apollo.
“I was happy but thought he may have found the line a bit better.”
Full Noise stretching out to win at Winton from stablemate King Cassidy – Photo Bruce Stewart
Gray’s other winner today was the well bred Jaccka Jeorge.
The three year old had shown potential but had broken in his previous three starts.
Today driver Nathan Williamson took the Andover Hall gelding to the lead and despite been challenged by Liberty Stride for the last 800 metres held on to beat that runner by half a length.
Jaccka Jeorge, which is owned by Charlie and Ailsa Smaill, is out of their gem broodmare Janine Jaccka.
Jaccka Jeorge was the Sundon mare’s forty sixth individual winner. All of her progeny have qualified and won races. Her biggest winner was Dominion winner Jaccka Justy which won $237,467. He won thirteen races. Her other big winners have been Jaccka Jack (14 wins) and Jen Jaccka (9 wins). All up Janine Jaccka’s progeny have won $526,288.00.
“They’re a great family but they’ve always taken a couple of starts to get up and going. Alex Milne breaks them in, Charlie does a bit and then I get them and get the glory. He did a bit of galloping when he first arrived but he soon came to it. He hasn’t got the prettiest of legs so we’ll take everything we can get.”
U May Cullect Again
Such is the ease in which star Southland pacer U May Cullect is winning, today driver and co-trainer Kirstin Barclay had to remind the five year old that getting to the line first is what good pacers do.
“I had to give him a wee slap today. He’s just got into the habit of pulling up because there’s no competition. He’s actually going to be better coming off their backs. But really happy as that was a nice step up in grade,” she said after the gelding scored another emphatic victory at Winton today.
From barrier three Barclay took the Tom Kilkelly owned gelding straight to the top and he easily won the 1609 metre trip by three lengths from stablemate Paddyproudfoot.
“Paddy went super. I was rapt with a wee man.”
The winning time was 1-53.1.
“There was a race for him at Addington but we decided to stay down here and support the local clubs at the end of the season because people are coming out to see him.”
Although in front again today, Barclay says she’d like to educate U May Cullect to race in the field.
“If we can get a preferential race he should get a draw and take a sit. The first time in that higher grade that’s what I’d like to do to give him confidence.”
So what’s next?
“No plans. We’ll take him week by week. He still needs a spell somewhere along the line.”
This was the gelding’s fifth start and fifth win and I can’t remember the last Southland trained pacer to win their first five starts.
Microscopic, after running fourth on debut won his next six races while Honkin Vision ran second on debut then won four straight.
Later in the day today the Mitchell Kerr trained Zinny Mac driven by Nathan Williamson broke the track record for three year old colts and geldings.
His time of 2-54.3 was 0.1 of a second better than the previous record broken in December by Robyns Playboy.
The win was one of two for Kerr who trained Justasec to win the last race of the day. The win was also one of three for Southland’s leading reinsman Nathan Williamson.
Meanwhile Jonny Cox did the right thing for his family by winning the Cox Family Celebration Trot on the Amber Hoffman trained Imran Khan. The Pegasus Spur six year old won by an impressive five lengths and Cox threw in a victory salute well before the winning post for good measure.
Imran Khan is part-owned by Trackside presenter Mark McNamara and Matt Cross, jockey Samantha Wynn and ODT Journalist Jonny Turner.
Fiery Ferret Scores Ninth Win
Two years ago Fiery Ferret’s career looked to be over but the Mister Big gelding had other ideas.
“We were going to retire him because he had quite sore hocks. The owner Kelvin Reed just had so many other horses. I asked him if I could I have him for my granddaughter as a riding horse and he said that was fine. I put him in the paddock and he hated it so he was back on the jogging frame two weeks later. Kelvin and I went fifty fifty in the horse. He’s won five more races since then,” said co-trainer Jude Knight who drives the gelding in all of his work.
Jude trains in partnership with husband Geoff and she says the horse seems to be free of any leg problems.
“His legs are better than they’ve ever been. He had weak joints as a two year old. He’s out now for a few months and will be back for the new season.”
Knight says there was some confidence in the stable today, as the horse had good wet track form and his warm up indicated to her that he was ready to perform.
“When he was jigging around in the warm up and wouldn’t pace I got confident. When he does that at home it means he wants to get on with the job. Once we got to the lead I was pretty confident.”
Driver John Morrison took the six year old straight to the lead and after a few cheap sectionals he went down to the line, beating Groomsman, which trailed him for most to the journey by two and three quarter lengths.
“My sister and I booked a trip to Fiji next month. I said to Geoff that I feel so guilty about doing the trip on my own. Now I can pay for it and don’t feel guilty anymore (laugh).”
It’s been a great month for Fiery Ferret’s dam Touch Of Rose with three of her progeny winning. The Ideal Touch (American Ideal) won at Invercargill while her older sister Ferritt’s Sister (Bettor’s Delight) won fresh up at Alexandra Park for her new trainer Nicky Chilcott.
The mare’s next two foals are colts. One by Art Major, which is a yearling and the other is by He’s Watching.
Meanwhile Nottingham K Two won his second race this season on his home track. Both wins have been in the hands of Southland’s leading junior driver Ellie Barron.
Born To Boogie Relishes Wet Track
“She’s a lovely wee mare who seems to go good on the wet tracks,” said trainer Brett Gray after Born To Boogie won her fifth race at Gore today.
The four year old was driven by the country’s leading junior John Morrison who was filling in for a suspended Brent Barclay.
Morrison took the Rock N Roll Heaven mare to the front with 2000 metres to run before handing up to Santannas Rocket. Just before the top of the straight Morrison hooked Born To Boogie off the back of Santannas Rocket and she came down the middle of the track to beat him by a length and a quarter with Delightful Deal another length and a quarter back in third.
Gray says Born To Boogie’s future may now be in the North Island.
The Ryal Bush trainer is slowly getting back to full mobility after Full Noise kicked him in the leg after winning at Winton last Saturday.
He says he hasn’t been able to drive fast work for most of the week but is now back in the cart.
Full Noise, which ran third today behind Nottingham K Two, will have to wait until tomorrow’s Oamaru meeting before his place at the Harness Jewels is confirmed.
Gray said he wasn’t too disappointed with the three year old’s performance today.
“It was one of those races. In the past he hasn’t gone so well on the wet tracks. He just got a wee way back today and the wet track just takes the speed out of him.”
It wasn’t the fairytale ending for Santanna Rocket’s Southland career. He’s heading to Australia on a 50/50 deal with Robert Morris.
The Morris stable have had success with another Santanna Blue Chip gelding James Dean, winning three races with him since December.
Meanwhile Robyns Playboy which had to be scratched from the race, is on a course of antibiotics after stablemate Hans Ideal kicked him after work during the week.
Stable spokesperson Chris Wilson said it’s hoped that Robyns Playboy will take his place in the Harness Jewels in a fortnight.
He said the stable hope to get another run into him before the Jewels after he broke at Winton last Saturday. That misdemeanour was caused by a cut to the mouth.
Wilson says Robyns Playboy’s chances of making the Jewels will be known in the next few days.
The stable gained some consolation when Swift Robyn won her maiden race and Hans Ideal ran second later in the programme.
Mixed Bag For Southerners In Final Jewels Hit Out
Three Southland Harness Jewels runners shared their final hit out in the same race at Ascot Park today with Robyns Playboy beating Rockabilly Blues and Mighty Flying Art finishing fourth.
Robyns Playboy was scratched at Gore last Saturday after he was kicked on the leg by stablemate Hans Ideal the Tuesday before the races. Gore was supposed to have been his last run before the Jewels.
“If he’d run at Gore I wouldn’t have come here. Very happy with the run and he showed a bit of ticker. He didn’t blow and he surprises you with how fit he is when you think he needs the run,” said trainer Ross Wilson.
In today’s Cruickshank Pryde Mobile Pace over 2200 metres driver Craig Ferguson slotted Robyns Playboy into the one one before he took him to the front with a lap to run. He held on to beat Rockabilly Blues by half a length, running the journey in 2-42.5 with Nota Bene Denario nabbing Mighty Flying Art by a nose for third.
Consequently it’s straight into the Jewels on Saturday at Addington for him where he’s drawn two on the front row.
“In the perfect world he’d hop in behind Heisenburg (drawn one) and sit two or three back on the fence all the way. This is going to be a different kettle of fish for him. They’re going to go a 1-53 mile rate which he’s never done before.”
Mighty Flying Art’s trainer Murray Brown wasn’t overly happy with his charge’s performance.
“Not really. He was travelling real good and then he dropped the bit. When that other horse (Robyns Playboy) went up to take the lead he wanted to go. Brent took a hold of him and he dropped the bit and let him go. He’s done it before. He went in a bit fresh so we’re hoping he won’t do it next start,” Brown said.
Meanwhile Winton mare Rockabilly Blues received a kick by Clerk of the Course horse Vi Et Animo when she was returning to the birdcage.
Rockabilly Blues has a dislike of the on-course speakers and she swung round when coming down the lane leading into the birdcage.
Clerk of the Course Sally McKay came up to assist and her horse kicked Rockabilly Blues just above the knee, causing it to bleed.
The mare’s leg will be monitored over the next few days and it’s hoped she can take her place in the Four Year Old Diamond this Saturday at Addington.
Another Jewels runner Wee Man Trouble capped off his preparation with a win at Ascot Park today. The four year old added to his 20 metre handicap when he broke with 2300 metres to run. He regained his gait and stormed home down the middle of the track to win easily by three and a quarter lengths for driver Blair Orange.
Other winners on the day included Sounds Bettor for Geoff and Jude Knight, Melton Mafia for trainers Gordon and Colin Lee, Sherry Baby for junior driver Kerryn Tomlinson, No More Change for Jamie Campbell and trainer Craig Ferguson and Bettor Rock Again for Ray and Tracee Faithful.
Milne Pilot Of The Airwaves
Airwaves has always shown Edendale trainer Craig Laurenson plenty of raw ability and lots of good speed.
The half–brother to Maximan, the winner of twenty six races and $371,759, Airwaves is by Panspacificflight and is out of Clifton Beauty. She was bred by Ian Bennett.
“Maximan has gone 1-50 in Aussie and I think this horse has more speed. I know it sounds stupid,” said Laurenson after the win.
Airwaves was having only his second start after finishing eighth at Winton earlier this month and Laurenson was hoping he’d just get round after he’d paced roughly on a number of occasions on debut.
In the EH Ball ITM Mobile Pace driver Alex Milne took Airwaves straight to the lead and there he stayed.
“The plan today was just to get round because he gets a bit rough gaited. But Alex said when he got off the gate it was just what he was going to do (go the front). He just jogged it. You just don’t lead from eight and run away from them.”
The winning margin was two lengths with Jaccka Taffy finishing second.
Laurenson says Bennett has had horses with him for over twenty years and that he’s been extremely loyal.
“Ian actually got us into the game and he’s supported us. Loyal is his middle name. Ian Loyal Bennett (laughter).”
Airwaves is the fourth live foal out of Clifton Beauty and he’s had a few setbacks prior to getting to the races.
“He ran into a post and had a big hematoma. He also developed a club foot but now it’s all good. I didn’t really want to race him this year because he’s still maturing and is weak. Alex Milne has done a huge job with him. He used to come to the track and drive him because he was crazy. He’d see things that anyone else wouldn’t see.”
But Laurenson says the ability was always there.
“His heart rate is unreal. He’s lucky to get over 80 no matter what we work him. He went 3-02 one day at the workouts when he wasn’t qualified and his rate was 78 when he came off the track. You get a wee bit excited when they’ve got that much ability.”
And he thinks the horse is still two years away from being the complete racehorse.
“His brother (Maximan) is ten and has run 1-50 in Aussie so he’s got six years up his sleeve.”