Barastoc Grand Circuit Series
Stories: Pacers 2007/2008 Season
This article was first published in New Zealand Harness Racing Weekly, 12 March 2008, and is reproduced here with permission.
Colour orange - The trademark
for latest Cullen star
While green was still the colour of choice by the Cullen Crowd at Alexandra Park last Friday night, orange is on the way.
Orange ties, orange pens, orange caps, orange this and that will trademark the racing career and then the stud one of Gotta Go Cullen.
The first is already a colourful triumph - 20 wins, a Derby, nearly half a million in stakes won, and the Group 1 Trillian Trust Auckland Cup.
And the second will eagerly follow the first, but not soon.
"We've got no crystal ball, but we're in no hurry for that with him," said the original green man, owner Ian Dobson.
"It's there, waiting in the wings."
Which is one reason why Dobson paid Sue Martin $1.6 million for him last year and sent him to Tony Herlihy to train.
Gotta Go Cullen NZ
"This is where I won the race, six months ago when I picked Tony to train him. He was the man for the horse, and he was the man for the race; he'd won it seven times.
"I rang him before I bought the horse and told him what I was planning to do.
"Once again, what I've done has worked out right," he said.
Dobson knew he'd gone in deep for the horse, but not as deep as thought by some.
"Everyone said I'd paid too much for him, but he is now worth it and he's the stallion I thought he'd be.
"I didn't expect to win the Cup, but I hoped he would."
With that in mind, Dobson left nothing to chance.
"Tony said it would be nice to run a place in the race and win it next year.
"This was the day before, and I told him I'd be quite happy if he took a few risks with him. You never know if you have them next year.
"The next day I said to him I hope he wasn't offended by what I said - and of course he wasn't."
Herlihy settled Gotta Go Cullen behind pacemaker Classic Cullen, and then he was three-deep when Monkey King took over. When Classic Cullen got onto Tribute's back before the corner, Herlihy was up a place and after Monkey King turning in.
Monkey King was game and gallant, but he was a sitting duck for one as good as Gotta Go Cullen and one with such big-race form as Herlihy.
Dobson said it was 10 years ago when Christian Cullen had won the race for the late Danny Campbell.
"There've been a lot of people giving me a hard time about his fee, but it's crap.
"I put the price up to keep the numbers down, but still they keep coming.
"It's a win-win situation for everyone.
"People are getting value for money, whatever I charge.
"I've been blessed with Cullen and I've made a commitment.
"My job in life is to look after my family, harness racing and Cullen.
"I'm proud of the way I'm doing it," he said.
Dobson said he was fortunate to have people like Darryl Brown and Noel Kennard assisting in his management of the horses.
"It's a very happy association.
"I do the PR work, but they've got a free hand with what they do."
Dobson revealed that the stud career of In The Pocket, grandsire of Gotta Go Cullen, is all but over.
"He's struggling. He got about twenty mares in foal this season, so it's his last year coming up, that's absolutely certain, and he'll probably just do mares of mine.
"He's not commercial any more," he said.