Cleary puts Moruya treble down to teamwork

Kayla Nisbet aboard the Joe Cleary-trained Closdumesnil. Image: Bradley Photos.

Joe Cleary’s team enjoyed a big day out at Moruya on Saturday, with the stable preparing a winning treble. 

Cleary only sent three horses to the races, making the feat all the more incredible.

He started the meeting with Closdumesnil (Kayla Nisbet, $11), winning the 1650m Maiden Plate before taking out the 1650m Benchmark 50 Handicap at Hurricane Coni (Nick Heywood, $5.50).

Wrapping up the big day out, Juliette’s Joy (Kayla Nisbet, $3) carried Gerry Harvey’s colours to an impressive win in the 1300m Maiden Handicap. 

“Sometimes I’ll take eight to ten to the races, and we’ll get a winner or a double, and we’re happy, but it’s great to take three runners and get three winners,” Cleary told NSW Country and Picnic Racing.

Closdumesnil is now off to the breeding barn, while Hurricane Coni has rediscovered his best form, but Cleary believes Juliette’s Joy is the one to follow out of the meeting. 

“Juliette’s Joy is one of Uncle Gerry’s, and we’ll have her for another 12 months,” he said. 

“She’s a nice type, and there is no reason she can’t go through her grades.” 

With the majority of his team based in Queanbeyan and a satellite stable in Moruya, Cleary said good staff was the secret to his success. 

“Both stables are going well; it’s a good little click,” Cleary said. 

“We’ve got 18 at Queanbeyan and five to six at Moruya. It’s the best staff I’ve ever had in 26 years of training, and the results are coming to fruition.

“I’ve got my apprentice Ruby Scott, who just got married, back at Moruya, and Shaun Coady, who’s also a trainer, is there, too.

“At Queanbeyan, it’s a mixed bag, and I’ve got Chris Coleman, our main trackwork ride. Kim Shoard is an apprentice, and she rides a lot of work. There is Michelle Venn.

“We’ve also got Brian Freedbody back working for me; he’s worked for me off and on for 25 years, and since he’s been back, it’s been a breath of fresh air in the stables; he’s a calming influence.

“Then there is the backbone, my wife, Sharlene, and it helps that I get a lot of support from clients.”

Cleary said that having two training bases gave him options, with Moruya in an excellent spot to get the best out of his gallopers, who have been in work a little longer. 

“Moruya is mainly where we send our horses towards the end of their prep, as they get that beach/river work, and it helps with geldings that are out of form,” Cleary said. 

“Hurricane Coni is a perfect example; he spent a week in the water, and Shaun advised me to put a tongue-tie on, and bang, he came out and won at Queanbeyan.”

“Plus, Moruya is a beautiful setup, and we’ve got good people out there. It works so well with our Queanbeyan setup.”

The 48-year-old hit the ground running as a trainer in the early 2000s, having success with the wonderful mare Ta Ta Tatiana, and he has since enjoyed a stellar career, training over 400 winners. 

Still, he’s never lost sight of what training means to him. 

“We call ourselves Lunatic Lodge, and I’m not the best trainer, and I don’t have the best horses, but we’ve had a good go at it, and we have had fun doing it,” Cleary laughed. 

“I started young and moved from the Gold Coast after Dad left me half a dozen horses to start with. 

“I was lucky enough to buy Ta Tat Tatiana, who won 15 races and a Dane Ripper. Since then, we’ve collected 14 Queanbeyan trainer premierships and had over 400 winners.”

Cleary will be out to continue the good form at the Sapphire Coast on Friday, with four runners set to go around. 

It wasn’t just Cleary who enjoyed a big day at Moruya on Saturday, with Canberra trainer Becky Byrne teaming up with Damon Budler for a winning double. 

Byrne started just two chances on the program, and Budler rode Jacob Joe ($5) to victory in the 1010m Benchmark 50 Handicap before Rosy Sue ($2.90) triumphed in the 920m Maiden Handicap.