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.”
Job done – Photo Bruce Stewart