RACING: You can’t keep a good woman down
THE racing game is no easy gig.
So imagine trying to run the show with a broken leg.
"It's a hard business," Cathy Chapman said.
"You couldn't do it without a bung leg without people supporting you.
"Everybody needs to have a good team around them."
The Southgate trainer suffered a cracked tibia and multiple fractures to her knee in a recent trackwork mishap.
It's tough to keep a hard-working woman down. Especially one like Chapman who says she had spent one day in hospital her entire life prior to the accident.
"I'm still having as much input as I can," she said.
"I can't bear weight on my leg. Wheelchair or quad bike is the best way to get about.
"I like to do a lot of things myself, but I've got really good people around me. Julie Shepherd has been helping me for years and she comes out of a morning and does the boxes. My sister Judy Champman is doing a lot to help, and Jill Ahrens. It would be really hard to mention them all.
"They're all getting frustrated with me because I sit at the window and yell things at them. They reckon they're going to put a sheet of tin up.
"I'm probably not being a very good patient. As you get older you have niggly injuries, but this is not really what I'm used to. I'm not real good at feeling sorry for myself."
Yet despite Chapman's immobility, the stable has banded together for three winners from the last eight starters.
With Chapman stuck at home on race days, it seems her support cast have taken the opportunity to play a starring role including 20-year-old foreman Mitchell Hayward standing in and Simon Mainwaring driving the truck for Carotsa's back to back wins at Coffs Harbour (April 9) and Casino (April 16) followed by My Boy Eagle's win at Murwillumbah on Anzac Day.
"Everyone's working really well and pulling together and my nephew Mitchell's doing a terrific job," Chapman said. "He's worked for me since he was 14 and will probably take over one day. He knows what needs to be done.
"It's not so bad when you can watch the races on the TV. But for the non-TAB at Casino the other day I couldn't even watch and I kept ringing them up and pestering them.
"I had Mitch on the phone and halfway down the straight he started saying 'this thing's going to win again, it's going to s*** it in'. His voice went up and up as it got to the line. That's what it's all about."
And the stable is hopeful for a fourth win today. Tee Lexus is ideally drawn in barrier one for the Become A CRCJC Member Maiden Handicap over 1015m in the opening race at 12.55pm.
"It's a nice race for him," Chapman said.
"He's a bit of a family pet. My sister and Jill fight over who gets to look after him. He's a dear little pet, a lovely quiet character and fortunately shown us a little bit of speed."
Tee Lexus had three starts in November including a second at Kempsey last start. The three-year-old gelding's arrival was a timely one for the stable who had lost Beau Brock after it ran second in the race hit by a hail storm at Grafton on September 17 last year.
Affectionately nickamed "Cotton Wool", Beau Brock had clocked up a win, three 2nds and three 3rds in his final preparation and had made $41,025 in career earnings.
"When we lost Beau Brock everyone was a bit downhearted," Chapman said.
"We were devastated. 'Teejay' has picked people up a bit."
Tee Lexus will be ridden by Kacie Stanley.
Clarence River Jockey Club executive officer Michael Beattie owns five of Chapman's 11 horses currently in work, including recent winners Carotsa and My Boy Eagle.