Grey Missile takes out the Cleveland Bay Classic, confirms trainer’s opinion of his young grey gelding.

  • Chillemi's Grey Missile takes out the Cleveland Bay Classic
  • A fairy tale finish for Peter Cullen
Trainer - Roy Chillemi with Grey Missile

 After a Townsville Cup fairy tale ending, we only had to wait another 45 minutes to witness a similar affair as the three-year-old Grey Missile beat his older rivals to win the $100,000 Cleveland Bay Classic at Townsville.

The script had been written weeks earlier as Atherton based trainer Roy Chillemi decided to set his young gelding for a tilt at the Cleveland Bay Classic, a race that had not been won by a three-year-old for many years.

In the lead up to Saturday’s big race, he won a three-year-old Hcp, beating home the Townsville Guineas runner-up Pure Hawk.

This led Chillemi to making the decision of running him in a WFA race against the older sprinters two weeks later. 

He put Cullen back on him, after Cullen had ridden him to victory at his first time on the grey gelding’s back some weeks prior. 

When he won that event, beating home Cleveland Bay rivals Craiglea Deken and Mason’s Chance, Chillemi had no hesitation in nominating him for the Cleveland Bay Classic.

Chillemi was full of excitement when ‘the Missile’ exploded to the lead and ran away with the event, winning by almost three lengths.



The outcome was also a dream come true for veteran rider Peter Cullen who had been trying to win the elusive first prize for many years. 

The 56-year-old was both elated and relieved that he had finally broken the run of several minor-prize finishes over the years.



For Grey Missile, it was his fifth win from six starts at the track and distance, finishing a close-up second at his other start. 

At this stage, Chillemi plans to spell the Cleveland Bay winner now and then prepare him for another campaign in the spring.

On a sad note, the race ended in tragedy when the Krystle Johnston-trained Craiglea Deken broke down in the run home and had to be euthanised. 

A winner of 16 races and $310,000 in prizemoney, the Longhorn five-year-old had become a real crowd favourite after winning six straight races during the 2016-17 season. 

It was a tragic loss for the Johnston stable as he was a real favourite of trainer Krystle and her father Stan. 


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Grey Missile takes out the Cleveland Bay Classic, confirms trainer’s opinion of his young grey gelding.

After a Townsville Cup fairy tale ending, we only had to wait another 45 minutes to witness a similar affair as the three-year-old Grey Missile beat his older rivals to win the $100,000 Cleveland Bay Classic at Townsville.

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