By Glenn Davis
It was the stuff of dreams for two-horse trainer Michael Geaney and jockey Chelsea Jokic when Lady Skills gave the pair their first Townsville Cup win at Cluden Park on Saturday.
Lady Skills caused a Townsville Cup boilover with a commanding 3-1/2 length win over last year’s winner Chivadahlii.
Fastnet Flyer was third, a further 2-1/2 lengths away.
Geaney, 30, has only been training for six years but has produced consistent performances with a small string of horses in that time.
Lady Skills has been a family affair after Geaney’s mother Debra bought the ex-Victorian mare for $13,000 at an Inglis tried horse auction four months ago.
The daughter of Skilled was formerly prepared by Mornington trainer Matt Laurie who told Geaney she was capable of winning a midweek city race in Brisbane.
Since taking her over, Lady Skills has won four of her six starts for Geaney and will now be aimed for more country Cups.
“If she can win the Cairns Cup and then the Cairns Amateur Cup she’ll earn a $200,000 bonus for the Northern Crowns series,” Geaney said.
“If we can get her going more she could end up going to Brisbane.”
Geaney comes from a harness racing background and works as a refrigeration and air conditioning mechanic.
“It’s every trainer’s dream to win their local Cup and to do it in front of family and friends is a great thrill,” he said.
For Jokic, the win couldn’t have come at a better time after she broke her leg in a fall two months ago.
Meanwhile veteran jockey Peter Cullen landed his first win in the Cleveland Bay Handicap aboard the Roy Chillemi-trained Grey Missile.
Grey Missile burst through a gap before going on to down Kievann by 2-3/4 lengths with a neck to third placegetter, Mason’s Chance.
It was Chillemi’s second Cleveland Bay victory after claiming the north Queensland feature with Kanetoshi King in 2009.
“When he burst through that gap in the straight it was like a missile exploding,” Chillemi said.
“He’s been a bit green and wayward in his career but he’s done a terrific job.”
Chillemi is based at Atherton and has won several Townsville trainers’ premierships.
Grey Missile’s win was his eighth from 18 starts.
Cullen has been striving to win the Cleveland Cup for many years and was relieved to win the feature for a first time.
“It’s been a long time coming. I’ve had seconds and thirds and I’m as happy as Larry to finally win one.”
Racing Queensland webnews July 28