By Tony White
She is cantankerous, bad mannered and unlovable.
Until renowned Taree horsewoman Bindi Cheers came on the scene tempestuous four-year-old mare Alocasia had been ditched by a succession of horse breakers and trainers.
No-one had been able to control the flighty mare with more fire in her belly than a steam train's oven.
Cheers first laid eyes on Alocasia at a tried horse sale earlier this year in Melbourne.
She bid $1000 for the daughter of Al Akbar, who again failed to attract much attention after word spread through the sale ring of her ill-tempered antics.
Undaunted, Cheers, the woman who trained hardy stayer Quadri, the gelding who gained a cult following in Sydney for his iron horse exploits, took on Alocasia determined to succeed where many before her had failed dismally.
Yesterday at Grafton Alocasia scored her first win when the mare, with Peter Graham in the saddle, scored by a half length in the Maclean Cup Day F & M Hcp over 1100m.
"Because of her manners ?she hasn't got any ? no one wanted her," Cheers said.
"Not even her mother would love her.
"She's very naughty, a real handful. Totally annoying."
Even after winning Alocasia or 'Casi' as Cheers nicknamed the mare, put on a real show in the mounting yard, twisting and turning the trainer around in circles as she tugged on the bit and pulled her head to and fro.
"She's just like that," Cheers lamented. "She'd obviously had a hard time before I got her.
"She'd been broken in and re-broken and through a series of trainers. They just gave up on her."
Cheers was asked what attracted her to Alocasia at the sales.
"I didn't know she was as bad as she was but she was cheap and sound and I thought I'd take a chance," she said. "She's paid for herself already. I've won nearly $10,000 with her.
"I take her to the beach a lot and never lock her up.
"She's in a paddock where she likes it.
"She can gallop and I'm hoping maturity will set in soon, otherwise I'm in trouble."
Alocasia took her record to one win and three placing's under Cheer's patient care.
"I've got to thank Peter Graham. She needs a strong jockey to dictate to her," she said.
Cheers trains only a small team of six at her stables and like Alocasia, most are cheap cast offs owned by Cheers and her family.
Alocasia showed tenacity in the home straight to haul in early leader Lawlini with Dawn Encounter a length away third.