Day At The Track

The "King" gets ready to rule

12:00 PM 16 Jan 2020 NZDT
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Culture King,Harness racing
Culture King was a comfortable winner at Menangle trials earlier this week
Ashlea Brennan photo

Super-talented South Australian pacer Culture King showed this week that he's right on target as he warms up for a tilt at some of the huge interstate harness racing riches on offer.

Part-owner and trainer Paul Cavallaro said the four-year-old had been sent to New South Wales, specifically aimed at the inaugural $1Million Pace at Tabcorp Park Menangle.

"We just sort of thought we'd give it a shot-he's a lovely horse, but we realize with that amount of stakemoney on offer, it's going to certainly attract the very best," Cavallaro said.

"I've never really knocked him around and he's won 11 from 18 starts. So, he just might take the next step and show further improvement. That would be nice," he said.

Culture King (Art Major-Tessace (Aces N Sevens) was sent late last year to Cobbitty, 60 kms south-west of Sydney, to be trained by Craig Cross.

The bay horse trialled at Menangle on Monday and impressed with a comfortable win over the flying mile in a tick under 1.54. He was handled by Cross' number one pilot, champion reinsman Luke McCarthy.

"I've spoken to Luke since and he was quite happy with the horse," Cavallaro said.

"We were just pleased that he'd settled in well at their property because he virtually had the run of my place back home. I think Craig and Luke put them out into paddocks as much as possible so that's good. He's living the same life," Cavallaro said.

Paul Cavallaro

"They are now weighing up the options. Because Culture King is from interstate, he must have five starts in NSW prior to the start of heats of the million-dollar series," he said.

To kick off proceedings, Culture King will compete at Goulburn this Sunday afternoon where he has drawn the three alley in the $12,000 Goulburn Soldiers Club Tom and Angela Hewitt Memorial.

"There's 10 of us in the horse and we live as far away as Perth in WA. There are other owners in Sydney, Victoria and South Australia. We've had a ball so far-we're in it for the fun. But we'd all be rapt if we got a slice of the big stakes along the way," Cavallaro said.

The lucrative $1M series will take in 14 tracks-basically half of NSW- in each of the State's harness racing regions, as well as Broken Hill.

Preliminary $5000 heats at Broken Hill on May 3, will be followed by $10,000 heats at various tracks in the Hunter, Western Districts, Riverina and metropolitan. Quarter finals of $15,000; and $10,000 consolations will be from May 20-24, with the grand finale-$1M final and $25,000 and $50,000 consolations-at Menangle on May 31.

Coincidentally it was at Menangle where Culture King caught Cavallaro's eye.

"I went to the Ready to Run sale and he was the last one to trial. He ran a half in 56 secs which was second fastest to Lochinvar Art, now a superstar with David Moran," Cavallaro said.

"I just loved him from the start. He was obviously unraced and hadn't trialled, but there was something special about him," he said.

"Anyway, the price was way out of my league. I went on a holiday to Queensland, but there was probably not a day went past when I wasn't thinking about the horse.

"I spoke to my mother-in-law on the telephone and she told me to count her in. It just snowballed from there, mainly through word of mouth and now the 10-member Ready to Run Syndicate races him."

Prior to sending Culture King by road transport to Cobbitty late last month, Cavallaro had been "keeping him up to the mark" through a number of trials.

"He was underdone the first time, but his next two were strong. I think he went around in 1.57 and home in 56 secs so I was really happy with him," he said.


Terry Gange

NewsAlert PR Mildura

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