Day At The Track

Big Fella switches on

08:13 AM 20 Mar 2017 NZDT
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Ask Me Major after winning at Ascot Park
Photo - Bruce Stewart

It was just a matter of waiting for giant pacer Ask Me Major to mature, and both owner Tom Kilkelly and trainer Kirstin Barclay were prepared to do that.

Last week at the Northern Southland harness racing meeting you can see the gelding switch on, halfway down the straight when he ran an improvers fourth. 

Today after lobbing the one one he came up the middle of the track and held on to narrowly beat a fast finishing Patanjali by a nose.

The angle is deceptive but Ask Me Major (4) beats Patanjali (1) by a nose 

The Ask Me Major story has plenty of twists and turns, starting on day two at the 2012 Sale of the Stars in Christchurch. 

"He came through (the ring). He was by Major In Art and they couldn't get a bid on him because he was huge.They said 'someone give us a thousand dollars' so I put my hand up, gave them a thousand and that was it," said Kilkelly.

Kilkelly had a soft spot for the giant black colt because he'd successfully raced his half-sister Ask McArdle which won five races for him.

Fast forward to November 2015 and Ask Me Major qualified as a five year old, but there's certainly been some trials and tribulations on the way to today.  

"He's broken down three times in the tendon. We gave him over a year off and this time in we've really looked after him. Kirstin does it all. She wraps him continually with one of those pulse blankets and does the legs as well everyday. He's got ice boots - you name it he gets every little bit of treatment."

Kilkelly says despite his size the gelding paces perfectly. 

"Normally with a big horse they can pace out of kilter but he paces lovely. I always said he's my cup horse. I'm not sure whether it's the Tin Shed Cup (raced on the grass at Balfour) or the New Zealand Cup," he said laughing. 

Such is Barclay's dedication to Ask Me Major that she had to be part of the birdcage photo today even though she was driving a stablemate of the winner. 

Winning connections                               - Photo Bruce Stewart. 

"After he won she gave someone the horse she was driving so she could get her photo taken with him. You don't normally get that emotional with horses but he's pretty special to us this fella." 

The horse has also impressed seasoned reinsman Andrew Suddaby who had the reins again today.

"Suds said he is totally green and was talking about putting some blinds on to wake him up but we decided it was better to run him just the way we are."

Despite his progress the stable's not getting too carried away. 

"He's still just a day to day proposition. Kirstin keeps looking at the legs and saying I think there's a bump there."

So it's back to the routine again tomorrow. 

"He never works between races. He just jogs all week and then races at the weekend. That way you're not putting pressure on him all the time."



Bruce Stewart
Southland Harness racing


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