Racing: Six year gap no problem for Cullect

By Michael Guerin

Number 3 Gotta Go Cullect with driver Jay Abernethy. Photo / Dean Purcell
Number 3 Gotta Go Cullect with driver Jay Abernethy. Photo / Dean Purcell

Stand Sure could get an opportunity few racehorses ever do at Cambridge tonight -- to meet his Dad.

Because remarkably, his sire Gotta Go Cullect will race 30 minutes before him after an incredible comeback story.

Trainer Jay Abernethy says Gotta Go Cullect is "90 per cent sure" to have his first race start in 2428 days in an otherwise normal race eight tonight.

An absence of over 6 years is extraordinary in itself but tonight's comeback is even rarer because Gotta Go Cullect has spent much of that time at stud, siring 48 New Zealand-bred winners, including Stand Sure, who like his sire has won five races.

That stat tells the story of Gotta Go Cullect's race career as he looked a potential superstar as a juvenile, beating the likes of Highview Tommy and Tintin In America before injury robbed him of his best days.

His stud career has been solid rather than spectacular and when he served only 30 mares in 2014, Alabar agreed to lease him to Abernethy.

"It has been a long exercise getting the weight off him because they carry so much as a stallion," says his trainer and now part-owner.

"But he is ready to race and providing his blood reports are good he will start."

Abernethy is a genius with veteran horses, having won races with a 12- and 11-year-old this season, so training a 10-year-old is nothing new to him.

"The key to the older horses is not working them much between races, most of mine spend a lot of time on the aqua jogger, about 35-40 minutes a day," he told the Herald.

"But this fella has needed plenty of trackwork too and he feels like he still has all his old speed.

"He hasn't been to the workouts but when I have worked him with our better horses here he has been too good for them."

Abernethy says Gotta Go Cullect has come back on such a loose assessment he is considering taking him to Australia if he stays sound, believing he would race through the grades there.

None of Gotta Go Cullect's seven rivals tonight were even born when he last raced.

- NZ Herald

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