By Jordan Gerrans
As a big, strong, and quiet gelding, Cleveland Bay Handicap champion Grey Missile has settled in perfectly into his second lease on life following his racing career.
The stylish grey was always an eye-catcher wherever he raced around Queensland, from as far north as Cairns and all the way down to the Gold Coast.
The now seven-year-old gelding had his last of 49 career races starts in early October this year and has quickly jumped into his new role within the industry – as the clerk of the course at several FNQ tracks.
The aim is for the former Roy Chillemi-trained grey to make his debut on race day as the clerk of the course in the coming weeks after preparing for the job with respected horsewoman Kellie Buckingham since he called time on his racing career.
“When Roy and I first spoke about it, I thought it would be just a good story because so many people knew him as a great racehorse,” Buckingham said.
“I have had a few people mention to me how excited they are to see how he goes, people that have been involved with the horse over his career.
“He is a pretty cool character.”
As well as winning the premier North Queensland sprint race during his career, Grey Missile won at metropolitan level South East Queensland, as well as being as being placed on six other occasions in town, when he was trained by the Edmonds stable on the Gold Coast.
Perennial trainers premiership winner around the north, Chillemi is not shy about his thoughts on how his former galloper presents to the eye.
“He is a very attractive horse, he will have a home wherever he goes,” Chillemi said.
“He would be a standout compared to the other clerks of the course in terms of his looks, come Cairns Cup and Cairns Amateurs Cup time, everyone will be looking at him from the crowd.”
From Buckingham’s perspective to get the gelding to his first day at his new vocation, she needs to be sure he is mentally switched on to the requirements.
As Buckingham explains, Grey Missile needs to now understand that he is at the races to help other horses and not there to go around himself.
The Red Element gelding needs to have patience around the mounting yard and the track, having to stand and wait for long periods of time.