By Tony Megahey
Joe Cleary’s confidence towards a Brisbane winter campaign for flying Catch The Culprit is the strongest possible push as the aptly named Gerry Harvey-bred gelding attempts a winning treble at Sunday’s Queanbeyan TAB meeting.
With multiple runners throughout the seven-race programme, the popular local larrikin is primed to continue his momentum after winning the prestigious Wagga Wagga Town plate last week.
Joe is enjoying a booming season on south-eastern tracks with 26 winners, a 17 per cent winning strike, regular doubles, the occasional treble and another feature race success. Cleary’s big regional following celebrated long and loud when former Bjorn Baker galloper Coolring won the $150,000 Town Plate at lucrative odds courtesy of a brilliant Kathy O’Hara ride.
Cleary has high hopes for his latest emerging prospect, Catch The Culprit, in Sunday’s BM 65 National Mailing and Marketing (1460m) following dominant wins at Canberra and Gundagai recently.
Catch The Culprit, a Wanted- Jewel Theft four-year-old gelding, continues Cleary’s long and profitable association with high profile breeder and entrepreneur Harvey.
“We’ve got a few live chances,” Cleary enthused. “Catch The Culprit is my stand-out. All going well on Sunday, and I’m confident it will, we’ll be going to better races over the Brisbane winter carnival.
“He’s come up just enormous this prep. We’ve given him a freshen, coming back to 1400m off wins at a ‘mile’ and 1800m so he’ll close off strong.
“The penny has finally dropped with him. He was a big gangling slow learner but he’s matured and really put it together big time.”
An in-depth contest will see Catch the Culprit sharing favouritism with multiple country winners Hangin With Willy, Cherokee Warrior and Balonne.
Cleary’s Lasting Shadow, a dual race winner, will be value odds in a particularly strong BM 61, Busom Buddies (1200m) that includes three last start winners. Cleary is represented by Rosaruby and Bart in the feature event, the AADI Defence Forces Cup (2000m). Cleary expects a sharp improvement from six-race winner Rosaruby, fitter for two runs from a lengthy spell and with a considerable drop in weight.
Meanwhile the promising Joseph and Jones trained I’m A Jewel will be hard to beat in the third event after winning a Wagga Wagga maiden by a wide space in exceptional time.
At present Queanbeyan has a good four track rating with fine weather predicted.