By Tony Megahey
Veteran Casino trainer Leo Clapham reckons he isn’t “telling lies” with a burning ambition to win his home town Cup, but remains “philosophical” about his chances for Saturday’s TAB Cup meeting.
The $27,000 Casino Cup, sponsored by The Hotel Cecil, has marvellous 150-year plus traditions and is a grand day annually for the northern region communities.
The popular Clapham - with a 50-year racing history as a track rider and then trainer - has bargain buy mare She Tells Lies, and lesser-performed gelding Schopenhauer in the 1400m feature than has drawn the strongest stables and best performed gallopers in the region.
She Tells Lies, winner of two early season regional features, carries 54kg for Matthew Paget and Schopenhauer 54kg, reduced by first season claiming apprentice Cejay Graham, the daughter of leading country jockey Peter Graham. Cejay rode a double at the recent Kempsey TAB meeting.
Meanwhile, Clapham, who has run second twice in the Cup over a lengthy period, is asked regularly to explain the naming by intrigued racing enthusiasts.
“We bought Schopenhauer off the internet, we were just as interested so we researched and up pops this wise old German fella, but She Tells Lies is a far different story,” Leo chuckles.
Arthur Schopenhauer is a renowned 18th century philosopher. One of his more notable quotes could certainly be applied to the sporting arena or the racetrack. “Talent hits the target no-one else can hit; Genius hits a target no-one else can see.”
Meanwhile, She Tells Lies was bought by Leo and a mate for just $500 and she’s won six races, including the feature Autumn Cup and Beef Week Cup at Casino in late April and May.
“We put down a $250 deposit but the info we got on her condition was a far different when we got her home and had her checked - that had something to do with the name, I’ll leave it at that,” Leo says.
“But she’s been a terrific mare once we got her right, and those feature race are always strong, the top stables and quality runners. But I’d love to win it after running second twice and having runners in it for a lot of years.”
She Tells Lies is a back marker but is a track specialist fitter from a let up, while Schopenhauer according to Leo will race on pace but is up sharply in grade off moderate performances for his new owners.
“The mare has come back better than when she won those two feature races, I thought she’d get more weight, she’s really well placed with 54 kilos. We just need some cover and luck in running and she’ll be in the finish as it’s a long, open run home.”
Casino Racing Club has drawn mostly capacity fields for a seven-race TAB meeting, will race on a good track and is catering for a booming crowd.