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Cleary Declares Championship Hand

By Brad Gray

Joe Cleary has never been one to mince his words and that isn’t about to change ahead of Goulburn’s Country Championships Qualifier on Saturday.

The Queanbeyan-based trainer will accept with both Quietly Brilliant and Chaquinta.

“I have no doubt that I’ve got the best two horses in the race on paper but it’s just a matter of where their preparations fit which could be the telling factor,” said Cleary.

“I’m super happy with their track work but it’s a bit of a two-way street for me. Had it been a six furlong race I’d say Quietly Brilliant would be the best horse in the race by a mile. The seven furlongs is uncharted waters for him.

“Then you look at Chaquinta, had it been a 1600m race it would have been a perfect race for her being a nice stayer on the way up.

“It is what it is though. Not every day you can race for $150,000 with Class 5 horses so they both fit the category perfectly.”

Simon Miller has been booked to ride Quietly Brilliant while Bobby El-issa will take the reins on five-year-old Chaquinta.

“I can imagine Quietly Brilliant getting a soft lead and Simon rides front runners really, really well.”

“He was just too fresh (last start at Canberra) and had the blowout that he needed. He was still in front at the 100m mark but something had to give with the weight and run he had.”

Quietly Brilliant's luckless last start fifth

Chaquinta won three straight in town last campaign and by a collective margin of over 10 lengths. “She’s a beautiful mare.”

“I received her from Mick Price in Victoria and she has taken all before her. She was a horse I received to try and win a race with at the picnics and she ended up winning three in Sydney and a race at Canberra.

“She is in for a nice long staying preparation so it’s a perfect kick off for her. She goes in with no trial but she has had a jump out at home and she has a really good base. This has been in the pipeline for her the last twelve weeks.

“If it was six furlongs you’d think Quietly Brilliant would be a good thing, if it was a mile you’d think Chaquinta would be a good thing.

“Anyway, its seven furlongs so may the best man win. I’m looking forward to the day with two live chances.”

The Country Champioships head to Goulburn on Saturday - here are the fields

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