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Wet track could play havoc with Chillemi's chances

By Glenn Davis

Tolga trainer Roy Chillemi believes the weather could be a key factor to his chances with nine starters at Townsville’s Cluden Park on Thursday.

Cluden Park was rated a Soft 5 at Tuesday’s acceptance time and Chillemi is keeping a close watch on the weather with his big team as some showers are forecast.

“A couple of mine don’t like the wet and a few love it,” Chillemi said.

“It’s one of those days where I could win three races or none.”

Chillemi starts the day with two runners – Robig and Apolline – in the QTIS Three-Year-Old Handicap over 1200 metres.

Robig is coming off a last start win in a 1300-metre Class 6 at Townsville last month while Apolline finished sixth in a 1400-metre Class 1 at Cluden Park on March 21.

The 71-year-old trainer has booked two kilo apprentice Marnu Potgieter to offset Robig’s big weight of 61.5kgs while Apolline – a Stephen Wilson mount - will be on the minimum with 54kgs.

Chillemi originally had four nominations for the Three-Year-Old Handicap but decided to start Mystery ‘N’ Magic in the Class 3 Plate over 1609 metres and Higher Realm in the 1200-metre Benchmark 70 Handicap.

Higher Realm

“I popped Higher Realm in the Benchmark race to get some weight off him as he had 61.5kgs - the same weight as Robig - in the Three-Year-Old,” Chillemi said.

“I’m thinking about aiming Robig and Tennessee Boy for the winter three-year-old races up here in June.

“It might be too short for Robig under his big weight as he’s come back in distance from 1600 metres to 1300 metres and now to 1200 metres.

“But if we get more rain, he’ll love it unlike Higher Realm who doesn’t like wet tracks and he may even come out if the track is heavy.

“If Higher Realm starts, he’ll go well but he’s up there in the weights where it hurts now.”

Higher Realm won his first two starts this campaign in Townsville before finishing fourth in Cairns and a last start third to Dunatun in a 1250-metre Benchmark race at Cannon Park on March 19.

Chillemi’s other starters are Boomed and Husette in the QTIS Two-Year-Old Handicap (1200m), Bet On Love in the Class 6 Handicap (1000m), and Borella and Willygood who clash in the Class 2 Handicap (1200m).