By Glenn Davis
Emotions flowed freely when veteran North Queensland sprinter Cleaver ended his long career on a winning note in the Newmarket Handicap at Yeppoon on Saturday.
Cleaver, ridden by David Simmons, was a long last coming to the home turn before unleashing a whirlwind finish to down Lost Classic by a nose in the 1300-metre sprint.
Mamselle Corday was a close up third.
Cleaver was bought by veteran Townsville trainer Terry Butts as a tried horse in Melbourne for only $10,000 and finished his career with earnings of more than 182,000.
“He’s a nine-year-old now and he’s done enough,” said 73-year-old Butts.
“He was last on the home turn which I half expected but I didn’t think he would get so far back.
“I can tell you there’s plenty of tears around.”
Cleaver started 75 times during his career for 10 wins and 25 placings.
“I went to Melbourne to buy a stayer and Cindy Alderson said he’d make a good stayer,” Butts said.
“It took me two years to find out he couldn’t stay and he was purely a sprinter.
“He’s been a great horse and has well and truly paid his way.”
Butts has only one other horse in his stable, Gold Cufflinks, who he is bringing to Brisbane to race later this month.
“Cleaver is going to be a kid’s horse at St Brendan’s College in Yeppoon now,” he said.
“He’s been a great horse and I’m going to miss him, that’s for sure.
“I’ll have to find another horse.”
Butts rated Cleaver’s best win in the George Moore “Cotton Fingers” weight-for-age sprint at Mackay in July.
“The George Moore was probably his greatest win but I was also very proud of him when I took him to Doomben where he ran second a few years ago,” he said.
“Unfortunately, he’s the type of horse that doesn’t like being couped up in a stall.
“He’s more of a pet.”
Racing Queensland webnews November 4