Queanbeyan trainer Joe Cleary cancels move after prizemoney spike
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Queanbeyan trainer Joe Cleary cancels move after prizemoney spike

Queanbeyan trainer Joe Cleary has cancelled his move to Queensland after Racing New South Wales spiked its prizemoney last month.

Cleary said it was a "common sense decision" and to stay put after speaking with his accountant and connections.

Queanbeyan trainers Joe and Frank Cleary.

Queanbeyan trainers Joe and Frank Cleary.

Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Racing NSW recently injected $24 million across all sectors, which saw Cleary turn his back on the Gold Coast.

Highway Handicaps - which Canberra trainers were recently let back into - played a major role in the decision, with the weekly Sydney race for country-trained horses jumping from $60,000 to $75,000.

Cleary had already started moving his stable to the Sunshine State and he didn't rule out a return to Queensland down the track.

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"We basically had one foot over the border, we had six horses in Queensland and four returned [last] Monday, the wife and I were looking at real estate and setting up camp up there before Christmas," Cleary said.

"We've put it on hold temporarily after I touched base with major clients and in the end it was a common sense decision, especially with Highways going up to $75,000.

"You're either racing for $75,000 at Randwick or $16,000 at the Gold Coast and it basically became a no brainer to stay put.

"It's still on the radar, never say never, we won't spend the rest of our lives here. We'll hang around a little longer and keep calling Queanbeyan home and we're looking forward to the spring and summer."

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The decision keeps Clearly eligible for the inaugural and bush-only $1.3 million Kosciuszko at Randwick on October 13, which Canberra trainers are ineligible for in its first running.

The whopping prizemoney rise has been concentrated at the lower end of the spectrum for horses running fourth to 10th. It also sees the country and provincial championships double to $1 million.

There will be high spirits at the Canberra meeting on Friday after ACT trainers saved the industry from collapse last week.

Leading trainers Nick Olive, Matt Dale and Paul Jones sat down with Racing NSW boss Peter V'Landys and negotiated their way back into the Highway Handicaps.

Cleary will have two runners at Thoroughbred Park, with five-year-old gelding Creative Vision in race four and Constitutional in the last.