Clipperton chuffed to etch name in Country Championships history books

You couldn’t take the smile of a mud-splattered Sam Clipperton after he guided the Brett Robb-trained Sizzle Minizzle to victory in the $500,000 Country Championships final at Royal Randwick on Saturday afternoon. 

Riding the $81 chance, Clipperton opted for the inside running on the three-year-old, which handled the heavy conditions when pulling away for a comfortable two-length victory from the Cody Morgan-trained Talbragar (James McDonald, $3.90), while in third and 2.22 lengths back were the Matthew Kelley-trained I’ve Bean Tryin’ (Ellen Hennessy, $14). 

Robb left Clipperton to his own devices on the Dubbo galloper, and the winning hoop explained how the race played out from his point of view.  

“He (Brett Robb) said to me, ‘I’m not sure how this horse will handle the wet, but if he is handling it, I’ll leave it to you’, and the further this horse went in the race, the more he started handling the ground,” Clipperton said. 

“It all opened up on the rail, and I just pinched runs, and he was handling it, so I just kept asking him to get through it, and I just got him as far as I could down the straight without having to ask for the whip with him, just in case his wheels started spinning.

“I gave him a couple of fly swats on the hindquarters, and he just let rip.”

As far as being a part of Country Championships history, Clipperton was left tickled pink  

“I’m really proud to win this race,” Clipperton said.

“I’ve come close on one occasion, and to cross the line first in the race for the bush, it’s very pleasing.”

Clipperton was arguably happiest for Robb, with the popular Sydney hoop praising the Dubbo trainer. 

“Brett Robb, he is a great horseman, and he always gives me a ride in the Highways, whether it’s in the lead-up to the carnivals or in the middle of winter,” Clipperton said. 

“He doesn’t beat around the bush, so to speak, and he tells you what he thinks and how they go and leaves the rest up to you, and I’m really proud of him, and I’m sure this is a big occasion for him.” 

While he is a multiple Group 1 winning jockey, Clipperton was thrilled to be involved in the Country Championships, and he believes the concept will only continue to gather momentum.

“I just said before, it’s like the Everest of the country, and the build-up to this race and the Kosciuszko reaches far and wide in the state,” Clipperton said. 

For the race result click here.