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Chillemi in no rush to announce winter targets

By Glenn Davis

Tolga trainer Roy Chillemi hopes to get a better guide to his winter prospects with a three pronged attack in the QTIS Three-Year-Old Handicap at Townsville on Tuesday.

Chillemi originally planned to saddle four runners but has scratched Higher Realm and will rely on Tennessee Boy, Robig and Waterway in the 1200-metre event.

Chillemi has been at the helm of north Queensland’s racing operation for more than three decades and last season claimed his 15th Townsville training premiership with 20 winners.

The 71-year-old has arguably three of north Queensland’s best three-year-olds in his stable with Higher Realm, Tennessee Boy and Robig, but all have a massive weight burden imposed on them.

Higher Realm and Tennessee Boy were joint topweights with 63kgs while Robig was allotted 61kgs and Waterway 56.5kgs.

Chillemi was reluctant to separate his two and fears their weight - particularly on a rain-affected track - will have a big bearing in the result.

“Those three (Higher Realm, Tennessee Boy and Robig) are the best three-year-olds I’ve got in the stable but whether they’re the best in the north remains to be seen,” he said.

“They’ll all got a hell of a lot of weight so what weight will they get next time if one of them wins?

“The way it’s going, our good horses will have to leave because of their big weights so perhaps it’s time a weight ceiling should be imposed.

“Other than that, they’ll be forced to step out of their three-year-old shoes and race in Open company.”

Chillemi is not one to get ahead of himself and is no rush to reveal any plans for a north Queensland winter carnival campaign, including the Cleveland Bay Handicap in July.

Seven-time winner Tennessee Boy was beaten by lightweight Sancy Rose when he lumped 60kgs over 950 metres at Cairns on April 13.

Robig just failed to win for the sixth time in his career when beaten by Cracker Essgee in a Benchmark race at Townsville on April 8.

“I’ll aim Tennessee Boy towards the Townsville Dollars over 1400 metres but I won’t know more until all three head to a set weights race over 1300 metres in Townsville in May,” he said. 

“That race will give us a better indication for the winter races.”