Aging Chariot has not finished yet
CASINO trainer Leo Clapham is confident 10-year-old gelding Royal Chariot has another win in him as he lines up for the Booyong Pork Cup Benchmark 60 Handicap (2000m) at the Lismore Turf Club TAB meeting this afternoon.
Clapham originally nominated the horse for the Sam Hordern Memorial (1400m) at the Tabulam Race Day at the weekend, but decided to hold off until today.
"He'll go all right in Lismore," Clapham said.
"The bigger track will suit him better."
Royal Chariot has had 83 starts, producing 13 wins and 25 placings in his 10-year career.
The veteran galloper is coming off a third and two second placings from his past three starts.
"I've had him for nine years," Clapham said.
"We sent him out west (Queensland) in 2008 and he won $50,000 prize money the year he was there.
"He got a virus and he eventually came home," he said.
Clapham is unsure how many races the 10-year-old has left in him.
"I'm really happy with him at the moment," he said.
"He has no blemishes on his legs and is in good condition.
"If he has a few poor runs we'll have a good look at him."
As a three-month old weanling another one of Clapham's horses, Wiangaree, had the misfortune to tangle with a barbed-wire fence in a freak paddock accident.
The resultant injuries, cut tendons and other wounds, nearly ended the horse's life.
Amazingly, the five-year-old gelding has made a remarkable comeback and will line up at Lismore chasing his third win in six starts.
An Amy White mount, Wiangaree tackles the Byron Bay Pork Class 2 Hcp (1100m).
"He was at a spelling property and a kid on a motor bike frightened him," Clapham said.
"He got caught in a barbed-wire fence, cut his tendons and the vet who treated him at the time suggested we put him down.
"They kept working on him and eventually he recovered. The horse is lucky to be alive, let alone winning races."
Wiangaree, by Piccolo, is owned by Allan Greensill and Brian Allom, who run a trucking business and garage in Casino.
Wiangaree did not start racing until March 19 this year, when he scored an emotional three-length maiden win on his home track.
Apart from the early setback, Clapham has had to deal with continuous shin soreness with Wiangaree, a big, strong gelding who does little fast trackwork.
"We only work him three-quarter pace," he said.
"He does a lot of slow, long-distance work and walks around four kilometres a day.
"His legs are getting much better now but it's taken time and patience."
Because of his leg problems Wiangaree only stands a light preparation and under the circumstances Clapham has done a great job to get the gelding into winning form.
However, he admits to making an error of judgement at Wiangaree's last start, when he resumed with a fading 2.6 lengths fourth to Willyclang over 1260m at Ballina on October 29 after leading early.
"He hadn't run for two months," Clapham said.
"I did the wrong thing starting him over 1260 metres.
"He had a real good blow after the race.
"I've brought him back to 1100.
"My track rider Anthony Townsend said he's spot-on for Tuesday.
"The horse is in good order."
Recently appointed Lismore Turf Club secretary-manager Jon Menzel will oversee his first race meeting today since taking over from Michael Timbrell last month.
"I'm not sure what sort of crowd we'll get compared to some of the bigger meetings we've just had," Menzel said.
"It will be a good chance for me to settle in and get a feel for it.
"The weather has been kind to us this week and at this stage the track will run at a good three, which is ideal."