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Cluden Park
Weight Only Barrier for Ahwahneechee’s Cluden Return

Weight Only Barrier for Ahwahneechee’s Cluden Return

7th January 2022

Emerald trainer Raymond Williams knows only too well weight stops trains, but he still expects the nomadic Ahwahneechee to take a power of beating at Cluden Park tomorrow.

The tough seven-year-old gelding, with placings in both the Battle of the Bush and the Country Stampede finals in Brisbane, will have to carry 63kg in the Living Turf Open Hcp (1000m).

Lightning Hcp runner-up El Shaday (56.5kg), smart mare Let’s Go Bobby (54kg), and the in-form Sylvester (54kg) will all enjoy a big weight advantage over the coalfields flyer.

“Weight can stop a train. That’s the only thing that can beat him,” Williams said.

“But in saying that he won qualifying races with 63kg and 64kg . He’s a horse that can carry weight, it doesn’t seem to worry him.

“He carried 62kg at his last start and he finished second to V J Day in the Stampede at Doomben.

“The horse won his only start at Cluden (May last year) and he’s got gate one with a very good rider in Ric McMahon.

“I’m hoping he’ll get a nice sit on them and get his chance.”

For former jockey Williams - a coalfields miner - and his partner Tracey Leake, Ahwahneechee is the star of a small stable of six horses.

He’s also the pride and joy of Emerald local Mick Calvert who bought the Zupaone gelding as a weanling and gave him his name after a North American Indian tribe.

Ahwahneechee started his racing career in the south-east with Sheila Laxon, and then spent a short stint in Emerald with Ross Meek, before joining the Williams camp 12 months ago.

In just a year the gelding has won seven of his 15 starts and landed placings in the BOTB and Country Stampede finals.

“He’s been unlucky in the couple of times we’ve gone to town with him. He was forced very wide in the BOTB final and got hung up in a pocket in the Stampede,” Williams said.

“He deserves to win one and hopefully it’ll be next time.

“He’s been a terrific horse. Mick bought him as a weanling and wherever the horse goes Mick goes.”

Williams will also saddle up the 12-year-old Boot Shaker in the Open Hcp who at the other end of the scale will carry just 51kg with Krysten Swaffer’s claim.

Boot Shaker is a day to day proposition according to Williams, but knows only one speed – flat out.

“Tomorrow could be Boot Shaker’s last race, he’s day to day. He’s very fast. With him there’s only one speed.”

The Open Hcp is the highlight on the six-event Saturday card at Cluden Park with the first race at 1.42pm and the last at 4.56pm.

Pictured: Ahwahneechee on the way to one of his 12 wins.