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Cleaver Greene on trial for northern features

By Glenn Davis

Mareeba hobby trainer Alex Malliff is a big fan of highly rated rival Tennessee Boy but is confident his promising sprinter Cleaver Greene can bring home the bacon at Cairns on Tuesday.

Malliff has only a small team of eight horses in work and rates Cleaver Greene as one of the best horses he’s ever trained.

That is a big statement from Malliff, who is best known as the trainer of star country sprinter Paniagua, winner of eight straight races in the north including last year’s Townsville Guineas and Cairns Cup before claiming the Country Cups Challenge Final at Doomben.

“Cleaver Greene is as good a horse I’ve ever thrown a saddle over and that includes Paniagua,” Malliff said.

“He’s a serious racehorse when he puts his mind to it but at the moment, he’s still green and learning the caper.

“We’ve met Tennessee Boy once before and beaten him and I think we can beat him again.”

Cleaver Green was a $10,000 buy as a weanling for his owners, unlike the $600 it cost connections of Paniagua.

The son of Top Echelon has started seven times for three wins and two placings and is coming off a last start fourth in a Benchmark race over 950 metres at Cairns on March 27.

It was his first start since winning in two-year-old company at Townsville in May last year.

“He’s coming along well but he just needed the run last start after such a long break,” Malliff said.

Malliff is aiming Cleaver Greene for the major north Queensland features and expects more clashes with Tennessee Boy, who has won seven of his 13 starts.

“I think Tennessee Boy will be our sparring partner all the way through the carnival up here,” Malliff said.

“I’m aiming Cleaver Greene for all the northern cups in Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville and Cairns.”

Paniagua is due to return to work next week after his failed attempts in The Gateway at Eagle Farm and The Wave at the Gold Coast during the summer.