QUEANBEYAN's own larrikin horse trainer Joe Cleary is preparing for one of the greatest spring racing seasons in his career, with up to five retail king Gerry Harvey-owned horses under his wing to race for big dollars from September.
And with a trip to Queensland scheduled in June to meet with Harvey, Cleary said he was even a chance of purchasing shares in "a couple more" of his horses.
While horses Rimu and General Explorer had already been put to rest for at least another five weeks, Cleary raced Stolen Kisses in the Bosom Buddies race five 65 Handicap at the Queanbeyan Race Club last Sunday on Mother's Day.
And after finishing last at both Canberra's Black Opal meeting and Warwick Farm in March, she took out the race, beating $3.80 favourite Decision Made by one-and-a-half lengths.
She will now take five weeks off herself in joining Cleary's other four Harvey horses- two of which are yet to be named- resting up for the big spring ahead.
"I'll have up to five of Gerry Harvey's horses ready for spring time, and about 12 horses all up, so I'm in for a pretty big time," said Cleary.
"I was very satisfied with Stolen Kisses' race on Sunday...I spoke with Gerry Harvey about it, and he was very excited, and is looking forward to supporting Queanbeyan racing."
While Cleary has had a lot of success training horses in regional NSW, he does not claim to be in a high league of trainers, and said this overwhelmed him to be currently training five of Harvey's horses.
What he calls a great relationship with Harvey began at the Magic Millions event in Queensland in January where he purchased shares in two of Harvey's yearlings, before Harvey sent already racing horses to him from other trainers.
"He's a retail king and dealing with a bloke like me on a day to day basis, you scratch your head and think 'is this all fair dinkum?'," said Cleary of his work with Harvey.
"I think he likes the structure of how things work in Queanbeyan."
Cleary will still race six to seven of his other horses in the next five weeks.