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Cluden Park
Whiteley Back to Business for Another Cups Campaign

Whiteley Back to Business for Another Cups Campaign

15th June 2022 | By Tony Wode

Multiple premiership-winning jockey Chris Whiteley is back in the saddle and raring to go for the rich northern carnivals after a frustrating three months out with injury.

The four-time Townsville Cup winner, who won twice on crowd favourite Party King, will continue his build up to the north’s big feature races at Cluden Park tomorrow.

Whiteley is booked to ride Cups prospect and former Sydney galloper Don Arcangelo and smart sprinter Fanaar.

The 47-year-old was headed for another strong season but was stopped in his tracks when he suffered a fractured cheek bone in a fall at Rockhampton in early February.

After a prolonged recovery period, he showed he’d retained his renowned vim and vigour with a winner at his first ride back at Rockhampton last month.

Shedding unwanted weight after a longer than expected time out is his biggest priority.

“The only thing holding me back at the moment is my weight but I’m feeling great and I’m as keen as I’ve ever been,” Whiteley said.

“When it first happened (injury) I had a bit of a headache but didn’t think much of it. It was that night when I took a bite of my chicken ‘parmie’ that I knew that something was wrong.

“The C.A.T. scan showed I had two fractures and what was supposed to take six to eight weeks to heal blew out to three months.

“My weight got up to 59kg, it’s down to 56kg but it’s meant I’ve had to knock back a few rides.

“I’ve set myself a target of 54kg before carnival time to give myself a better chance for rides for the Cup and Cleveland Bay. 

“It’s amazing that there’s 23 jockeys riding in Townsville on Thursday. With fields of 10 and 12 it makes it pretty competitive.”

A winner of three Gold Coast premierships and four Townsville titles - including a tie with Graham Kliese last year – Whiteley is within sight of his goal of surpassing 2000 career wins with 1841 victories already on the board.

His prospects of adding to the tally tomorrow rest with the Stephen Massingham-trained Don Arcangelo in the Carlton & United Breweries Cl4 Plate (1200m) and his best chance Fanaar against Rockhampton flyer The Egyptian in the Ladies Day July 30 Open Hcp (1000m).

“Don Arcangelo is Steve’s new Cup horse so he might find the trip a big short, but I’d like to see him hitting the line,” Whiteley said.

“Fanaar is a pretty good sprinter and he’s drawn a good gate (3). From there he should get a nice run and hopefully be right in the finish.”

Cairns trainer Rod Miller is set to take a big hand in the Brown Brothers 3YO Hcp (1200m) with two top hopes in King Jester and Santa Marinella.

King Jester won four straight before a let-up and returned after the break with an eye-catching third to Hallside Hammer over an unsuitable 1000m at Cluden on May 31.

A major contender for the upcoming Townsville Dollars and Guineas, King Jester has the services of in-form jockey Ryan Wiggins.

Santa Marinella will be ridden by Townsville premiership leader Lacey Morrison and is second up.

The eight-event Cluden meeting kicks off with the Hygain 2/3YO Maiden Hcp (1000m) at 12.52pm.

Pictured: Gun jockey Chris Whiteley returns to scale after winning on Ahooshu at Cluden. He's back from injury and preparing for another shot at the northern carnivals. 

See the racing calendar for upcoming race day