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Bundaberg hobby trainer Gary Clem is hoping his latest stable star Jamesatelli can give him a belated birthday present in the Country Stampede Final at Doomben on Saturday.
Clem drives trains for Bundaberg Sugar for a living while also preparing a small team of five horses.
He turned 58 last month and hopes to make good use of the $61,000 first prize if successful.
"I drive cane trains during the crushing season and when that's over I work on the cane farm as well as training a few horses," Clem said.
Jamesatelli started his career in Victoria but after three starts for Clayton Douglas on the country and provincial circuit was moved on to Clem.
The six-year-old was a maidener when he first arrived in Clem's stable but has gone on to win five times in 16 starts for him.
"He's named after his two former Melbourne owners who bred him," Clem said.
"He will be ridden by Dale Smith in the Final and Dale and his wife Melissa are like family to us.
"When Dale was riding in Melbourne for Mick Price he used to ride Jamesatelli's mother and he said she was a very good mare so we should have a lot of fun with him."
Although Jamesatelli is small in stature, Clem believes his big heart carries him a long way.
"He's only tiny and stands about 15 hands and he can be a quirky horse," Clem said.
"His stable name is Jimmy and if the real Jimmy turns up and sprints he'll go well.
"But, sometimes Jimmy just wants to stay."
Clem's best sprinter in recent times has been King Klaus who won 14 of his 31 starts including city wins at Doomben and Eagle Farm.
Clem was a former jockey before weight prematurely ended his riding career and once had a desire to play rugby league at a high level.
"I got too heavy as an apprentice and had to give it away and I wasn't good enough to be an A grade footballer for Northern Districts rugby league up here," he said.