Day At The Track

Watch Me Now’s incredible goodbye

04:15 PM 13 Feb 2021 NZDT
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Watch Me Now winning at Addington, Harness racing
Watch Me Now
HRNZ Photo

by Jonny Turner   

Watch Me Now delivered the ultimate goodbye and the greatest moment of Kirstin Barclay’s harness racing career by winning the NZ Standardbred Breeders’ Stakes at Addington on Friday night.

Watch Me dug deep along the Addington passing lane to reel in star mare Amazing Dream to seal maiden Group One wins for both Barclay and her training partner Tank Ellis in the 2600m feature.

In her more than 23 years in harness racing Barclay had only dreamed of winning a Group One race.

But thanks to the incredible talent of her lightly raced mare it was a dream no more.

“I never thought I’d get the chance to drive a Group One winner, it is just so special.”

“Especially doing it with her in her last start for us.”

Barclay will now say goodbye to Watch Me Now with the mare being sold in a big-money deal to North American interests by agent John Curtin.

“The owners are definitely delighted to get her,” Curtin said.

“We didn’t think she could beat Amazing Dream from the 8-hole, but she was just incredible.”

Barclay went into her last race with Watch Me Now wanting to give it everything they had.

And she did that by blasting off the gate in a move that was clearly the winning of the race.

“Tank and I spoke during the week and every time I looked at the field I thought our one chance was if we could cross out of the gate and get handy,” Barclay said. 

“Otherwise we were either going to have to sit parked or pull back and try and get around them.”

“You can’t do that when they are running those times.”

“That was the plan and luckily it worked out.”

After crossing to the lead shortly after the start, Amazing Dream and Mark Purdon came back around Watch Me Now and Barclay to hand them a perfect trip in the trail.

Though it looked like the leader had enjoyed steady sectionals in the middle stages, the pace can’t have been too slow.

Watch Me Now broke the national mares’ record for 2600m The Orange Agent set in the same race in 2017 with her 3-07.2 time.


Watch Me Now and Kirstin Barclay            --Race Images Photo

Barclay praised Ellis for his careful planning that had Watch Me Now ready to peak for her Group One tilt.

“He has been really patient and he is really good at mapping out a path for them.”

“And he really did that to perfection.”

“And we have really got to thank Benny Hill, who has looked after her for the last two weeks.”

“You couldn’t have a horse in a better place, no stone goes unturned.”

Watch Me Now delivered the ultimate going away present for her Southland owners Steve and Claire Sloan, who race the outstanding mare with son Brad and his wife Jess, and daughter Halie Gibb and her husband, Alan.

The daughter of Mach Three mare, Mach N Elle, will head to North America on the next available flight pending the outcome of a vet inspection.

It will not be the last Barclay has seen of her favourite mare, she vowed to visit Watch Me Now once COVID allows her to get there. 

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