According to Bendemeer trainer, Jane Clement, warmer weather and drier tracks have been the key to her stable’s recent success.
“It was pretty cold here and they have just started to thaw out,” Clement laughed.
“The tracks are dryer and I’ve got the odd couple that push through the wet, but they’re not that comfortable in it; they all are enjoying it more now.”
Clement, who prepared Hardyo to win a 1400m Class Three Handicap at Moree on the final day of the 2020/21 season, has kicked off the new season where she left off, preparing five winners from her last 28 starters.
Only last week, the North West trainer celebrated three winners at three different venues, with Red Beryl (Mikayla Weir) greeting the judge first in the 1200m Class Two Handicap at Tamworth on Monday, September 13.
Then on Saturday September 18, Clement won the 1000m Benchmark 45 Handicap at Barraba, with apprentice jockey Jackson Searle getting the job done on Rapid Eagle.
The stable’s third win in seven days came in the 1100m Maiden at Armidale on Sunday September 19, with Weir again in the saddle, this time guiding Rockdog to a nice win.
“It’s been great,” Clement said.
“We own the majority of our horses. We are not big buyers and don’t have any of those $100,000 horses, so we look for those other horses and have some fun.
“The horses have all been performing okay, but we had a lot of bad barriers, but you get a couple of good barriers and good tracks, and it makes a difference.”
Clement trains a somewhat boutique stable from her Bendemeer base with husband, Robert Clement, and there is a certain charm to their establishment that was once home to the old Bendemeer racetrack.
“We have 14 here at the moment but we have 100 acres,” Clement explained.
“It used to be the old racecourse. They last raced here 50 years ago, and we bought it as a bare block.
“I always had dreams of owning the place and I guess it was a dream come true when we bought it.”
The Clement stable is trained on the remnants of the old Bendemeer track, and according to the in-form trainer, this gives her team an edge on other country tracks in the region.
“It’s on the original track and we have altered it a little bit. It was only 1400m and now it’s a mile track,” Clement said.
“Our track is a bit up and downish and a bit like Armidale, so they are used to it here at home and they go to Armidale and tracks like that and handle it.”
Clement was pleased to have Armidale Jockey Club back racing, with the small country club kicking off their new season on September 11 before racing again on September 19.
“I’ve always loved Armidale. They are a good little committee and it’s only an hour up the road,” Clement said.
“It’s a short way home and I’ve always had success at Armidale, and we always enjoy going there.”
Interestingly, the stable’s recent success highlighted one key statistic and that was that most of their winners were ridden by women.
Clement didn’t shy away from this fact either, explaining why the likes of Mikayla Weir, Casey Waddell and Maddy Owen would ride a lot of her horses this season.
“I’ve had a lot of luck with girl jockeys. I used to use Tracy O’Hara, Vicky Milligan and then I had Rachael Murray and Rach went down to Sydney and Mikayla was an apprentice and started riding for me,” Clement said.
“Mikayla used to rodeo, and my kids used to rodeo, and she is pretty much like family, and she has a good rapport with my hoses, and I stick with her.
“I don’t know what it is. There have been a few guys that have ridden my horses, but I have a good rapport with females.
“Casey Waddell rode for me the other day and she will again and I’m giving Maddy Owen a bit of a go this weekend. They have a good rapport with my stable.”
Clement and her team face a very busy few days, with four runners nominated for the Manilla Cup meeting at Gunnedah on Saturday, Kacper Boy entered for the Port Macquarie Cup prelude on Sunday and three more gallopers entered for Monday’s meeting at Tamworth.
“It’s a busy time of year, that’s for sure” Clement said.
“Gunnedah is a beautiful track. You can win from anywhere there if your horse is good enough and I rode my first picnic winner at Gunnedah, and it has been a bit of a soft spot for me over the years and we will go there again on Saturday.
“I have Kacper Boy, he is going well, and I have nominated him for the Port Macquarie (Cup) Prelude and Red Beryl and Jade will back up at Tamworth next week.”
Red Beryl, formerly trained by Dean Mirfin and John Thompson, fired on debut for Clement, winning at Tamworth and the four-year-old’s trainer was confident he would progress to be a very nice horse this preparation.
“They are all going pretty good. Reb Beryl that won for me the other day, I’m really happy with him,” Clement said.
“He is a lovely horse with a lovely nature, and nothing worries him.”