Cullenburn is one of a large team of horses trainer Brendon Hill will step out this week. Photo: Race Images.
He has got his biggest racing team in a long time this weekend, but winning will not be everything for trainer Brendon Hill.
The North Canterbury horseman will line up eight runners over the course of two meetings on Friday and Saturday with teams at both Addington on Friday night and then Wyndham on Saturday and with some pretty serious horse flesh in the arsenal, he’s hopeful of some success.
But he’ll be just as happy to see a couple of his stable stars get through their resuming runs with no problems.
The first of those comes on Friday night when the striking Cullenburn kicks back into action and begins his preparations for the Superstars Championship in a fortnight and his trainer was pretty straight up and down when it came to how he thinks he’ll fair.
“You’d like to think he’ll be pretty hard to beat,” Hill said.
“He races well in a fresh state and with some of the goals we’ve got for the rest of the season, I’d expect him to go close.”
Win, lose or draw on Friday night, Cullenburn will miss next week’s premier meeting with Hill keen to keep his races well spread with the Superstars his main initial aim and then potentially a trip to Auckland to tackle the age group features there.
“He’ll tell us, but that’s the plan – he goes better when his races are spread out so we’re going to miss next week and then go straight into the Superstars.
“Then we’ll know exactly where we are at going forward.”
Cullenburn will be joined at Addington by Cullens Bet, Koromiko Eyre and Double O Heaven, the latter two of which give Korbyn Newman good chances at his first driving success.
On Saturday at Wyndham, it will be all eyes on the return of the very smart Flying Mister Ideal who is taking on the intermediate grade pacers in the Wyndham Cup.
“It’s a big ask, but I wouldn’t have him there if I didn’t think he could win it.
“He’s obviously going to improve with the run but he’s a pretty smart horse – the trip away and the 3200m are going to be good challenges for him.”
Ricky May will head south to drive the Hill team for the meeting which includes handy maidens Luvtahavtime, Philadelphia Freedom and the promising Donegal Art Chokin.
With 11 wins and 27 placings from 90 starters, Hill’s season is tracking nicely with five months of the season remaining.
He’s on track to get somewhere near his season best tally of 26 wins which he set back in 2011.
“I’ve only got 15 horses in work, so we’re getting most of them out and about this weekend.”