QUEANBEYAN’S Joe Cleary says the opportunity to train for one of Australia’s biggest horse owners, billionaire retail king Gerry Harvey as “overwhelming”.
Cleary recently took on board two tried horses, including metropolitan winner Stolen Kisses, and three yearlings part owned by Harvey after a chance meeting at the Magic Millions Sales in January.
“For a bloke of my calibre, as silly as I can be and as crazy as I can be, to train for someone like Gerry Harvey is a bit of an asset for me,” Cleary said after watching another of his new acquisitions, General Explorer in work earlier this week.
“He loves his horses and I think he’s quite happy to give young [trainers] a fair go and I guess I was just lucky to be in the right place at the right time and we hit things off straight away.
“We had a laugh and a yarn and then the next thing you know the phone rang and he offered me a few tried horses to train. It was quite overwhelming actually.”
Cleary’s connection with the 74-year-old entrepreneur came after the larrikin trainer purchased two of Harvey’s colts at January’s sales.
After striking up a rapport, Harvey then offered Cleary another two horses: Stolen Kisses and General Explorer. Both were previously trained by Guy Walter.
“It’s definitely a bit of a coup,” Cleary said. “When you get someone like him in the stables and do the right thing by him, you never know what might happen.
“Hopefully if I look after him more doors might open as well.”
General Explorer was the first of Cleary’s new brood to hit the track after running third at Goulburn last Friday.
The five-year-old will next race in the Benchmark 55 Handicap over 2000m at Queanbeyan on Monday. The gelding is one of three Cleary horses nominated for the meeting along with High Density and Liberal’s Knight.
Queanbeyan Race Meeting
Where: Queanbeyan Racecourse, McCrae Street
When: Monday. First race at 1.47pm.