Leech’s horses transferred to leading NT trainer

Dick Leech & Gary Clarke
Longtime NT trainer Dick Leech (left) has transferred all of his horses to the stable of leading Darwin trainer Gary Clarke. Leech recently incurred a 12-month suspension.

Leading NT trainer Gary Clarke has agreed to take over the 19 horses from the Dick Leech stable for the next 12 months.

Leech, with stables in Darwin and Alice Springs, was suspended by Thoroughbred Racing NT stewards on March 18 when found guilty of injecting Envenomate before the six-year-old gelding was due to race at Fannie Bay on February 3.

Stewards noticed that Envenomate had a swollen haematoma on the near side jugular vein and after a veterinarian inspection it was determined that an injection was administered.
The horse was withdrawn by stewards before blood and urine samples were collected.

No prohibited substances were detected, but after considering further evidence, Leech was disqualified.

Leech applied for a stay with the NT Racing Appeals Tribunal, which was refused – it is believed he will appeal the suspension after Easter.

With the Alice Springs Cup Carnival in full swing, several of Leech’s horses were primed for the five days, and although the stable was represented on Day 1 on March 17, he had no runners on Day 2.

Day 2 was postponed last Saturday (March 23) after relentless rain saturated the track, but the revised meeting went ahead as scheduled on Wednesday.

The next three meetings take place on March 30 (Chief Minister’s Cup), April 6 (Pioneer Sprint) and April 7 (Darwin Cup).

“Dick and I have been mates for 30 years, so I was happy to keep it all going for him,” Clarke said.

“He came and saw me; he knew that I could probably handle the job.

“I’ll do my best. Dick has some nice horses for the Cup and the Sprint.

“Write Your Name and Century Fox in the Cup, and Early Crow, Kerioth and a new one Kumicho, in the Sprint.

“All the transfers have been done so that all can run smoothly for the remainder of the Carnival.

“I’ll then work out who will end up going to Darwin and which ones will stay in Alice Springs.

“I’ve got no intentions of trying to pinch his owners.

“When Dick comes back, he’s welcome to just walk back in and take them all over again.”

Leech won the 2023 Darwin and Alice Springs Cups with Write Your Name, as well as the Palmerston Sprint in Darwin with Early Crow.

David Hensler, Chairman of TRNT Stewards, confirmed that the transfer was finalised on Tuesday.

“The transfer of the horses and all the transfer of ownership has to be approved,” Hensler said.

“It’s all above board as far as I’m concerned.

“We’ve been working on it since last week; they’ve done what was required of them.

“The last thing you want to do is impact the other owners and interrupt their horse’s preparations.

“That’s why we’re keen to get it all signed off.”

Clarke, who has a small team in Alice Springs, has confirmed that although Vallabar will likely contest the Cup, he won’t be starting Marimenko.

“Unfortunately, Marimenko will once again miss the Cup because of injury – he has cut himself and to be on the safe side he’s no longer in work,” he said.

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