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Chillemi still a major carnival player without a Cup runner

ff2366fd-8d8b-47b6-b6bd-aae39ca63046.jpgBy Glenn Davis

Trainer Roy Chillemi won’t have a Townsville Cup runner this year but he still hopes to be a major player over the two-day carnival, which starts at Cluden Park on Friday.

The old master from Tolga on the Atherton Tablelands will have three starters on Friday’s opening day with another seven entered for Saturday, including runners in the Townsville Guineas and Cleveland Bay Handicap.

Chillemi has won a host of North Queensland feature races, including the Cleveland Bay and Newmarket Handicaps but is yet to win the Townsville Cup.

“I’ve won the Cairns and Cairns Amateur Cups a few times but I’m yet to win a Townsville Cup and I won’t have a runner this year,” Chillemi said.

The 72-year-old knows how to train a winner after claiming 16 Townsville trainers’ premiership during a star-studded career.

Chillemi is hopeful Bet On Love can give him a win in the first of the Townsville features in Friday’s Lightning Handicap over 1000 metres.

The daughter of Love Conquers All is raced in a syndicate headed by North Queensland’s biggest owner, Tom Hedley.

The five-year-old mare has two wins and four placings from her past six starts in a remarkable campaign, which began in February.

Bet On Love

Bet On Love recorded her fourth win over 1000 metres when she strolled home by almost three lengths in Class 6 company on June 3 before a last start second to Deluxe Rocker in a 950 metre Class Six at Cairns on June 14.

“She’s a handy mare and has a good chance but she’s up against a few handy ones,” Chillemi said.

“I’ve won this race a lot of times and I wanted to have Oriental Girl in this race before she was injured.

“She’s a better horse than Bet On Love but we’re still in there with a good chance.”

Chillemi’s other starters on day one are Higher Realm in the Class 6 Handicap over 1200 metres and Dream Luv in the Three-Year-Old Maiden over the 1000 metre dash.

His Cleveland Bay runners on Saturday are Willygood and Grey Missile, who is chasing his second win in the famous 1300 metre sprint.

Chillemi has won the Cleveland Bay twice, firstly with Kanetoshi King in 2009 before Grey Missile’s success in 2018.