Day At The Track

Hampton lives up to his breeding

09:36 PM 23 Apr 2019 NZST
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Hampton,Harness racing
Hampton after winning at Ascot park
Bruce Stewart photo

Sportswriter gelding Hampton had a bit to live up to.

Until today, his Christian Cullen dam Baptism Of Fire had left six winners from eight foals of racing age including Highview Tommy (17 wins and $1,021,904) Highview Chartom, Highview Teejay and Highview Freddy; all five win horses.

“Everything out of that mare has won races with the worst winning four. So he (Hampton) should be able to get another couple of wins at least. This horse will be better in twelve months,” said Kirstin Barclay who co-trains the gelding with Paul ‘Tank’ Ellis.

Driver Blair Orange settled the Hampton at the back of the main bunch before getting on the back of Mark O’Ronga to move forward with a lap to run. At the 800 metres Orange had Hampton parked outside leader The Interceptor. At the top of the straight Hampton had hit the front and he went down to the finish two and a half lengths clear of the second horse Bettor Rock Again.

Hampton was bought by Wayne McEwan principal of McEwan Bloodstock, at the 2017 Christchurch Sale for $20,000.

“It’s taken a while for him to get his confidence. He’s got a lot of high speed. We knew he would do a good job once he got going.”

Today was only the gelding’s fifth start. Barclay says his confidence was knocked after his first start.

“It was driver error first start. He got knocked over at the start and I then let him loose around the field and it just blew him over. It was too much for him and it’s knocked his confidence. It’s taken him a wee while to come back.”

Orange was wearing a black arm band in today’s race to acknowledge the passing of Rewa Burns yesterday. Rewa was the wife of long time Secretary of Southland Trotting Clubs Peter Burns.

Kirsten Barclay said “She and Peter were such an integral part of Southland Harness racing. They were like the power couple back in the day. They lived in the cottage across from the stable. Sometimes I’d get home from the races really late at night but she’d always come out to say well done.”

Rewa raced cup class pacer Haughty Romeo back in the late seventies and early eighties. He won nine races, eight for Maurice Skinner and one for her son Tim.

Meanwhile the Barclay/Ellis stable’s star pacer U May Cullect looks set to reappear at Ascot Park on Saturday.

The Gotta Go Cullect five year old is unbeaten in only three starts and will line up on Diamonds Day in what will be his last start of the season.

“It’s just amazing how he handled the trip (to Addington). He hadn’t been further than Winton and he went up to Canterbury, ate up, raced under the lights for the first time, won, and came back to his paddock and ate up.”

Barclay says it doesn’t take too much to keep the quality gelding ticking over and race fit.

“Tank spends a lot of time walking him and we space his races. We do a lot of slow long work, endurance work with him, so he’s always fit without sprinting.”

 

Bruce Stewart

 

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