In racing terms, he’s been kicking dirt since day one of this season.
The jockey will tell you that it doesn’t feel good.
But trainer Michael Clements has worked with it. He’s taken the good and the bad and has always lived to fight another day.
Now and after tomorrow’s race, he may have a chance to take a lead over front-runners Donna Logan and Tim Fitzsimmons.
The Zimbabwean-born Trainer now has a 12-race program, overtaking Logan and Fitzsimmons with 13 winners (43-30).
He’s not going to overhaul them over the weekend. Not even two. Or, for that matter, three.
But that gap could close soon, making for an exciting race in November.
It’s a no-brainer, but doable.
Clements entered a strong string of 15 in action today. That’s one more for him than Logan’s 10 combined with 4 from the Fitzsimmons camp.
But without an ace in the pack, the numbers mean nothing.
And in that regard, Clements has some winning chances.
He has appeared in 7 of the 12 races, and in 3 of those races 2, 4 and 11, he has the ammunition to attack his rivals from 3 fronts.
Of those three races, from above, we saw him in the winner’s enclosure after race two.
Ejaz looks like he’s in his own class. He was selected to make his winning debut and race fans sent him off as the $12 first pick.
That was a month ago and he could only get 3rd place.
Tomorrow’s danger could come from Logan’s luxury brand — and Clements knows it.
However, we can still see him aiming for a triple win at the coin toss and Petrograd.
If he lifts that race, he will be back in race four with another talented trio.
Spearheading his hopes is Istaba, and she is full of life.
After having to play second fiddle in her last two runs, the filly deserves something better and this looks like it was made for her.
Again, it looks like the skinny trainer is holding the whip as Straight N Arrow and Real Success have real chances.
Towards the end of the program, another “girl” was able to help Clements’ cause.
Like Istataba, Qaidoom also races in Al Rashid colors and is better than her record of just one win in eight starts might seem to suggest.
Qaidoom has been sent off as the top pick in 4 of the last 5 races. Three times she finished second to her. She is Race 10’s true hope.
The main race of the day, the $85,000 Class 2 event of the 1,400m, again sees Clements represented by three horses.
Prosperous Return is good for distance and will topnite with a hint of condensation. But what awaits may be Tiger Roar.
He has taken storms. With so little weight to carry, he was able to beat his more rated stablemates.
Of course Stephen Burridge would disagree. Mr. Marek seems to be shaking violently. But, as they say, weight can stop a train.
As for Logan and Fitzsimmons, join the action from the stands.
To cap off a challenging day, Clements will have two high hopes in the final event – first-time winner Pacific Star and very stable Kassab.
Pacific Star’s dominating victory was impressive and his work leading up to this race shows that he won 2-2.
Kasab won the trial in an eye-catching manner. He is healthy and fresh from his short break.
For Clements, it would be a fitting climax to a trying day.
Clements Round of 15 in 7 races:
race 1 tomcat
Race 2 Coin Toss, Ejaz, Petrograd
Race 4 Great Success, Istaba and Straight N Arrow
Race 5 Amulet and Shihab
Race 10 Kaidoom
Race 11 Top Knight, Return of Prosperity, Roar of the Tiger
Race 12 Kasab and Pacific Star