This was no ‘clayton’s’ double at Palmy

By Garrick Knight

Punters might not have seen it coming, but Phil Fleming sure did predict the winning double by Claytons Bettor at Manawatu Raceway this week.

The four-year-old son of Betterthancheddar caused an upset in a maiden on Tuesday and then backed that up with a good win over American Me last night.

“I was pretty confident he would go well at the meeting,” Fleming told HRNZ.

“He did it easy the first day and being quite a relaxed horse that takes everything in his stride, I expected similar last night.”

Fleming was in the cart on Tuesday but visiting driver Brent Mangos jumped in the cart on Thursday as he was quite familiar with the horse.

“He had time with Brent up in Auckland last season.

“It was more for education and working with a bigger team of horses and then getting through to the workouts at Pukekohe.”

Once qualified, Mangos brought him south to Palmerston North for two races back in April and he went home to Stratford with Fleming after that.

“He’s been with me all the way through this prep. He had three or four months out and he really matured.

“That time with Brent made him in to a race horse; he can handle anything you put in front of him now.

“Down here it would take six months to achieve the same thing.”

Fleming, who works in the agricultural sector, races Claytons Bettor with his brother, Nick, who came up with the name. And it’s nothing to do with anyone called Clayton.

Instead, it’s a reference to the Australianism that alludes to something that is largely illusory or exists in name only.

“He’s not a Bettor’s Delight, but he does have Better in his sires’ name, so he’s a ‘clayton’s Bettor’s Delight’,” explained Fleming.

Claytons Bettor is the last and by far most successful foal of the now-deceased Live Or Die mare River Liffey, a daughter of the Fleming family’s broodmare gem, Isle Of Inishfree.

She died foaling the next time, and he is the last of her three. We probably weren’t planning on breeding any more out of her, anyway.

“She wasn’t the best-gaited mare but this fella though, he’s a bloody beautiful pacer.”

Fleming is hoping to make an appearance in Auckland next week, on night 1 of the Inter Dominion Series, but may run in to some trouble with Claytons Bettor’s rating of 62.

“I won’t be frightened to go up there with him and race in a boys’ race next Friday over 2700 metres.

“But he’s a 62 and I think the race is advertised up to 60, which is a bit of a bugger.

“He will be difficult to place, though I do think he will measure up fine in the country cups races later in the season.

“I would probably like to sell him, though.

“I’m doing four or five and that’s already enough with my work commitments, and I have more coming through.”

Former star mare River Polka, who won 10 races for Tony Herlihy, is due to foal to Vincent any day.

“I’ll give her the this season off and she can go in foal nice and early next year.”

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