Former hoop loving life as Hawkesbury trainer

Claire Lever was born into racing and her transition from jockey to trainer was one of natural progression.

Lever, nee Nutman, is the daughter of Hawkesbury conditioner Richard and has recently followed in father’s footsteps into the training ranks.

It came after she spent six seasons as a jockey, riding more than 100 winners including in town, before hanging up the saddle in 2018.

She was awarded her training licence almost two years later in August this year and is relishing life in her new role as she prepares to saddle up her maiden metropolitan starters this weekend.

“I am loving it,” Lever, who has trained two winners from six starters, said.

“I have worked out there my whole life and Mum and Dad are out there as well.

“Hawkesbury is a great place to train out of and a place I obviously know really well.

“I love doing the work and getting (the horses) to the races. The whole process is very rewarding.

“It is nice to see the work you’ve done and then to some them race well.

“These horses that I have at the moment make it easy to work with. They are nice quality there.

“That certainly makes a difference.”

Claire and Chad Lever.Source:Supplied

Lever is married to gun provincial hoop Chad Lever, with the pair tying the knot in 2018.

The pair work in tandem to oversee a stable of around 30 horses at their Hawkesbury base.

“To have Chad here doing it with me has been great and so has his support,” Lever said.

“He is there riding every morning and still rides the babies or the breakers for me.

“I still ride throughout the morning as well. We work as a team and only have a few staff at the moment but they are great.”

Chad Lever is a successful jockey. Photo: AAP Image/Simon BullardSource:AAP

Lever hit the ground running with a winner with just her third starter when Grace Bay saluted at Gundagai in November.

“It’s been good,” Lever said.

“Obviously I have had some of these horses for a while and have been doing the work on them.

“I thought the horses would be competitive and they were so it’s nice to know we are doing the right thing.”

Lever’s first city runners come on Friday night at Canterbury with Pragmatism and Diva Bella both heading to the New Year’s Day meeting.

Pragmatism is having her first run for Lever, and fourth overall, in the Hyland Race Colours Maiden Handicap (1250m) while Diva Bella is first up in the Schweppes Benchmark 72 Handicap (1100m).

“Pragmatism has drawn poorly in barrier 11 but James (Innes Jnr) knows her very well and on her previous form she should be competitive,” Lever said.

“I really like Diva Bella, she has obviously trialled well and looked well placed in this.”

Perhaps the most intriguing runner of Lever’s trio heads to Randwick on Saturday to run on the Kensington track.

Kathy O’Hara will ride Green. Photo: Mark Evans/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Last start winner Green will be saddle up in The Agency Real Estate Benchmark 78 Handicap (1300m) with Kathy O’Hara aboard.

“Green is a nice progressive horse and if she can win on Saturday she will head up to Magic Millions,” Lever said.

“I think she will end up being a Saturday horse but it’s just a matter of if she is ready.

“If not we drop her back in grade but she has no weight on her back and is bred to get through the wet on Saturday.”

Green is a $13 chance with TAB.com.au

Originally published asJockey turned trainer eyes maiden city win

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