HUNTER Valley trainer Clayton Harmey’s dream of sustaining the lead in the Hunter Valley Trainers’ Premiership may not be as easy as it seems.
With two months left of the current season, the 37-year-old has a number of chances engaged at today’s Newcastle meeting but these numbers may dwindle down in coming weeks.
Harmey has to undergo a back operation next Monday and will scale back his team during his road to recovery.
“This is the last attempt of trying to fix my back, it will be my third back operation in three years,” Harmey said.
“I had a crash at Newcastle on August 8, 2014, and have had troubles with my back ever since.
“I haven’t driven in a race since the fall, I drive track-work but that’s all.
“I’m always in pain . . . nerve pain is the worst pain I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy and hopefully with my next operation they can fix it.”
During Harmey’s time on the sidelines, he will continue to have help in order to keep a portion of his stable operating with an attempt of trying to claim that Hunter Valley Trainers’ Premiership.
And hopefully continue his strong lead in the tally where he has trained over 40 winners for the season in the region.
Across New South Wales, Harmey is one of the state’s top 10 leading trainers having pocketed more than 50 winners this season.
Harmey is certainly on track to having one of the best seasons he has had since starting out in 1996.
On record, his most successful season was in 2004/2005 where he trained 61 winners and 102 placegetters and had success with horses such as Stormy Crusader and Enjays Cam.
“It’s an unfortunate time to have the operation as the team is going so well at the moment,” Harmey said.
“Hopefully I can hold onto the Hunter Valley Premiership.
“I’ll still have a few people helping me such as my cousin’s wife Grace and Joel Sweeny, so if we can keep a few of the horses going while I’m recovering that would be good.”
It was just last Saturday week that Harmey’s Yourblueyescrying was involved in a four-horse race fall at Newcastle.
Morisset horseman Mark Callaghan was driving the three-year-old filly at the time and both horse and driver came out unscathed following the incident as well as the other horses and drivers involved in the accident except for concession reinsman Ben Woodsford who broke his wrist in three places.
“I took my filly to the vets and there is nothing wrong with her,” Harmey said.
“It’s unbelievable considering how bad it looked.”
By Amanda Rando