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Chillemi dominates QTIS Jewel qualifier

By Glenn Davis

Champion north Queensland trainer Roy Chillemi has given punters a lead, declaring Higher Realm has had the best preparation of his five starters in the QTIS Jewel Qualifier Three-Year-Old Plate at Cairns on Tuesday.

Chillemi will have five of the six starters in the 1250-metre feature with the unbeaten Ralph Baker-trained Belle Adele his only rival following the early scratching of Ali’s Jab.

Chillemi is a regular attendee at major sales around the State and has assembled an impressive stable of three-year-olds this season.

“I go to all the major sales and I’ve been going to the Magic Millions sales on the Gold Coast for many years,” Chillemi said.

“I personally bought all these three-year-olds and they’re all coming along nicely.

“Of the five in tomorrow, I’d say Higher Realm has had the best preparation.

“But I’ve been in this game a very long time and anything can happen in a race.”

Higher Realm was easily the dearest purchase of Chillemi’s runners when he was knocked for $82,500 at the Magic Millions sales at the Gold Coast in 2019.

The son of Wandjina has started seven times for four wins and three seconds and is chasing a hat-trick of wins.

He easily beat stable-mate Robig by more than three lengths in a Benchmark race at Townsville’s Cluden Park on January 15 before a last start win over 1200 metres at the same track on February 12.

Higher Realm is part-owned by prominent north Queensland racing identity Tom Hedley, who is a major backer of the Chillemi stable.

As well as Higher Realm, Hedley part owns rivals Robig, Tennessee Boy and Apolline.

The only runner Hedley doesn’t part-own is Mystery ‘N’ Magic who is coming off a last start win over Rose Clip over 1300 metres at Townsville on February 5.

Chillemi trains on a small property at Tolga just outside Tolga on the Atherton Tablelands and has won a host of north Queensland features including the Cleveland Bay and Newmarket Handicaps in Townsville and both Cairns and Cairns Amateurs Cups.

Although the odds are stacked in Chillemi’s favour to win the QTIS Jewel Qualifier, he is unlikely to head south for the $500,000 QTIS Jewel (1200m) at the Gold Coast next month.

“I took Grey Missile down for The Jewel a few years ago and he ran a good race but had no luck,” Chillemi said.

“It’s a horrible trip which takes about 22 hours in a float stopping over in Townsville then Rockhampton.

“I doubt any of mine will make the trip next month.”