Kirstin Barclay leads a busy life with two stables, a family and a strong exercise regime.
Trainer-driver Kirstin Barclay was denied a treble of wins on Northern Southland Cup day in the rarest of circumstances last weekend.
After producing U May Cullect and Wee Man Trouble for victories at the feature meeting, Barclay, herself, lined up behind the mobile.
She powered away from behind the arm for a good cause – to raise money for the national teal campaign.
The fighting fit trainer-driver, who competed at the Motutapu multi-sport event the next day, had to settle for second behind fellow reinswoman, Ellie Barron.
Though comprehensively beaten, the suit Barclay had donned for the charity race clearly looked to slow her down and robbed her of a chance of a feature race day treble.
Barclay was in that suit and out on the track because she had organised the race to raise extra money for the teal campaign.
“It all started as a bit of a joke, I think I commented on Facebook that Ellie would do a dash if we could raise $1000 and heaps of people jumped on board and said they would give donations.”
“So, I thought we better give this a proper push and make it a bit more official.
“It just went so well, I was just so proud, it just shows what the southern community is like.”
Barclay’s initiative eventually raised $3525.00 for the teal campaign, the extra money raised saw her and Tom Kilkelly join Barron on the track.
It may have been a case of Barclay’s good will paying off when she notched two wins early on Northern Southland Cup day.
Though, it seems more likely it was the polish from the in-form Barclay-Ellis stable that got U May Cullect and Wee Man Trouble home.
U May Cullect produced arguably one of the maiden wins of the season in Southland when crushing his opposition with a four-length victory in a smart 2.41.
The victory put three injury-plagued seasons behind the five-year-old, who has battled tendon problems.
It is a case of so far, so good, this preparation.
“He had a workout at two and he actually came up really nice as a three-year-old, but he kept getting injured.
“So, we have had to give him a long spell and bring him back up again.
“He has pulled up pretty well after the race; he lightened off a little bit, so we will just look after him.
“Fingers crossed, because with those ones you dread looking at them every day, but so far he is all good.”
U May Cullect was faced with a daunting task for any regular maiden – a hot field on one of Southland’s biggest race days.
Barclay said she had no major concerns about that before the race
“Every time he has been out, he has always done it so easy.
“It was only a couple of seasons ago he ran a 26sec quarter (400m) at the workouts untouched, so you knew there was plenty of speed there.
“There was a wee bit of a concern that a couple of the Canterbury ones had a bit more race fitness on him.
“But we did as much as we could with him at the beach without putting too much stress on him to get him as fit as we could before we went to the races.”
U May Cullect should not have to run much faster to win any races he contests in the short-term future.
Barclay said there was no reason to think the horse could not string multiple wins together.
“He has got a massive motor; it felt like we were walking the other day and we have gone 2.41.
“He is pretty untapped and he seems like he has got a lot of speed.”
Wee Man Trouble helped the good run of the Barclay-Ellis trotters this season when winning Saturday’s next race.
The stable has notched seven of its 19 wins this term with square-gaiters.
Barclay said beach training was one of the keys to that success.
“I think the trotters just enjoy the straight-line training on the beach, it gives them a bit of confidence.
“They are all going really well.
“Moniburns got back in the ratings and she got a free win at Oamaru and then came out and won another one, so that helped her along.
“She is very genuine.
“Something’s Burning has won two and My Wee Man has won two.”
Their Oreti Beach stable is one of two locations the Barclay-Ellis partnership train from.
Barclay has a busy schedule heading the operation and splitting her time between both.
The horsewoman modestly credited having good staff for helping the large set up run smoothly.
“It gets a bit tricky at time with having a family and the kids, but we have got good staff.
“We have got Colin Lindsay working for us and he has been a god send.
“If we are on late tide, he will get the jog frames done for us and get the boxes done so when we arrive back we just get in and do the hopple runs.
“Paul Hillis is a big help at the beach; he does a lot of riding as well.
“Having good people like that around you makes a big difference.”
Like Barclay, the horses can be regularly seen going back and forward between the Oreti Beach and Tisbury stables.
“Mostly all of the racehorses and older horses are at the beach and most of the young ones are at my place.
“We try to swap them around a wee bit, just to try to keep them mentally fresh.
“Sometimes they might come over to the Tisbury stables for an easy week jogging or a bit of a canter and go to the beach to finish off out there before they race.”
Barclay has found time for race driving during her hectic schedule.
Though, the responsibilities of presenting a large team at the races mean she has restricted the amount of horses she drives.
That has not had any detrimental effect on her form – she has enjoyed her best season in the sulky in the past six years with nine wins so far this term.
“I still really enjoy the driving, it is just sometimes if we have a big amount of horses in it is hard – because I am particular – to be out on the track and coming back in and trying to get everything ready.”