Kirstin Barclay. Photo: Wild Range Photography.
The new training partnership of Kirstin Barclay and Paul 'Tank' Ellis hit the ground running at Forbury Park on Sunday with the win of Honey Cullen, their first runner to the races.
Although the two continue to operate out of the same premises they used individually last year - Barclay from the Tisbury facilities of Tom Kilkelly and Ellis at the Oreti Beach establishment of Murray Little - working the horses is a combined exercise.
A major advantage of the new arrangement is the increased capacity it provides to take injured or stale horses who will benefit from the beach environment.
“As a rule, we are doing the young horses at Tisbury and those that are up and running work on the beach, but horses have been going back and forth,” Barclay said.
“It’s a joint operation, when there are early tides, all the drivers go straight to the beach to get that team done first.”
One of those drivers is junior Tyler Dewe, who was not only the successful reinsman behind Honey Cullen on Sunday but also races the five-year-old.
Together with Winton trainer Aaron Swain, Dewe leases the son of Gotta Go Cullen, who raced through the winter from the Swain stable and had finished second at the final meeting of the season at Oamaru.
“Tyler is working for me and Aaron is full-time for McMillan Feeds now so he brought the horse to us after Oamaru; we didn't have to do too much with him,” Barclay explained.
Dewe's previous winner was M'Lord Mackendon, raced by his partner Kelly Overdevest and trained by Barclay, at Forbury Park in April.
M'Lord Mackendon has since moved north and was a winner at Alexandra Park in June.
Horses from the Ellis barn were successful on 12 occasions last season while Barclay won 11.
The combined tally of 23 would have placed them fourth on the table for trainers south of the Waitaki and because Ellis didn't get his first win until October and Barclay a month later, Sunday's win has given them a flying start.
“We're working 35 in total, 10 of them are Tom's (Kilkelly), and should have six or seven at Gore (10 August),” Barclay said.
The body of her black and lime green colours have been retained for the partnership's new colours, along with the pink and purple chequered sleeves of Ellis.
Earlier on the card, Canterbury reinsman Dexter Dunn bade farewell to New Zealand for the next few months by driving two winners for local trainer Graeme Anderson – Bettor Sensation and Motu Top Mach.
Dunn heads to America this week to try his luck there but he is expected back in time for the New Zealand Cup Carnival.