Tess Neaves toasts her online shopping victory

By Duane Ranger (courtesy of Redcliffe Paceway)

Just over a year ago Clarendon-based lawyer, Scott Neaves, suggested to his wife Tess: ‘Why don’t you buy a horse? – but quickly added: ‘Make sure it’s currently racing, and it doesn’t hit a knee’.

Delighted at the thought of going on-line shopping, the Mum-of-two cracked open a bottle of wine, and then bought a 2-year-old that wasn’t racing, and was also a ‘knee-knocker’.

“I bought ‘The Fox’ (aka Foxi Five) because she looked pretty. She was black and had two beautiful white socks, and to Scott’s surprise she didn’t tick any of the boxes. To be fair, she wasn’t very good at pacing. When I did finally get her fit she had been away from the races for 15 months,” Neaves said.

“But that didn’t stop me opening a bottle of champagne to celebrate the purchase with Scott,” she added.

The toast of Clarendon! Tess Neaves and Leonard Cain pictured with her ‘online purchase’ – the 3-year-old Tintin In America filly, Foxi Five, who won race six at Redcliffe Paceway on Wednesday evening (November 1). DAN COSTELLO PHOTO

Foxi Five had her last race for former Tamborine trainer Shawn Grimsey in June 2022, and then in May this year Neaves trialled her at Albion Park with Leonard Cain in the sulky.

Now a second, and two fifths later, the Neaves husband-and-wife combo this week cracked open another bottle of ‘champers’ to celebrate Foxi Five’s first 3-year-old win in race six at Redcliffe Paceway last Wednesday evening (November 1).

The Neaves trained and owned Tintin In America filly sat in the one-one for most of the Garrard’s one-win pace before Cain slipped her into the trail down the back. Then in the lane Foxi Five before outsprinting Glenlea Bella in the straight by 3.3 metres. She paced the 1.780m mobile in 2:12.4 (mile rate 1:59.7).

The Clarendon-based Neaves family from left – Tess, Charlee (13), Scott and Callan (12).

Foxi Five has now had 12 starts for two wins and three placings since making her debut fifth for Grimsey at Redcliffe on March 26 last year. Her other victory came when she was the $4 second favourite at ‘The Creek’ with Nathan Dawson, in the sulky.

She was the $7.50 fourth favourite of nine on Wednesday.

Neaves described ‘The Fox’ as a rising 4-year-old who was full of ‘attitude and sassiness’.

“I only bought her because Scott suggested I purchase something at the races. I was busy playing with Riverleigh Jeff, and he thought I could do with a new horse. ‘Banana’ is 10 now and coming to the end of it, but he’s actually racing at Marburg today(Sunday) in race seven alongside his stablemate, Rollyarrrz, who are both in the same race. I’ve also got Safetosayimfancy in the first race as well.

Tess and Scott Neaves who only met because Tess’s father, Terry Smyth, offered Scott a drive on the 1996 Lucky Can 10-win gelding, Island Prince.

“I liked the fact that Foxi Five was a full-sister to Teddy Disco, a Group Two and Listed Classic winner. Teddy was born in October 2018 and ‘Foxi’ October 2019. They are both out of the six-win Lotsa Cloud mare (2006), Three Jewels, who was bred by Kevin Seymour. Littlehaven P/L bred Foxi Five.

“I bought her at the APG Mixed Online Sale. I’ve always been a big fan of on-line shopping and when I got the green light from Scott I couldn’t get to my computer quick enough,” Clarendon-based Neaves said.

“The little girl still has issues, but we are slowly ironing them out.” she added.

Neaves said Foxi Five had dubious front legs and did a suspensory early on.

The Clarendon-based Neaves family – Tess, Charlee, Callan, and Scott out on a horse trek.

“We put her in the paddock for six weeks to recover and get used to her new surroundings. It’s taken her a while to get sound but after four starts with us I think she’s slowing coming to it.

“She’s still got a bit of an attitude, and demands treats all the time. She thinks she’s the ‘Queen of the Stable’, I am working seven horses at home, and I reckon she is ranked three behind Beach Magic and Rollyarrrz would be ahead of her – for now,” said Neaves.

The 41-year-old has been training since the 2012-2013 season and the top two horses that have amassed her the most wins and stakes have been Riverleigh Jeff (21 wins and $73,295) and Call Me Yours (12 wins and $71,751).

Neaves has trained 83 winners, 196 place-getters, and netted $397,505 in purses in 11 years of conditioning standardbreds. Her first win came at Redcliffe Paceway on November 5, 2014, when Peter Greig steered Prince Benji to score as the $4.90 third favourite.

Tess and Scott Neaves on their wedding day with their ‘best-horse’ that originally brought the couple together’ – the 1996 Lucky Can 10-win gelding, Island Prince.

So why doesn’t she drive?

“I’ve always loved training more, and this way I have someone else to blame when I don’t win,” she laughed.

Born in Sydney, Neaves’ father Terry Smyth, was a rodeo rider and also trained standardbreds.

“Dad has always loved the horses as much as what I do. I grew up around them, and I remember Dad racing horses at Harold Park. Flaming Knight was one horse I remember winning at Harold Park back the late 1980s.”

Neaves moved to Queensland with her family 32 years ago aged nine.

“Dad got a job working for Ronnie Wanless, and a couple of years after we got here I went to Windaroo State High School in Bahrs Scrub. I actually went to University to study journalism and also worked with gallopers at Toowoomba before Dad got sick, and I went and helped him.

“I’ve been training on and off since, but more so in recent years now that my kids are a bit older. It’s a generational passion – misguided no doubt, but once you love it you are addicted,” Neaves said.

Both pictures above are of Tess Neaves and who she described as her ‘number one fan and good friend’ – Patrice Madden. DAN COSTELLO PHOTO (first of the two)

The Neaves children are Charlee (13), who is about to get her strapper’s licence, and Callan (12), both drive the mini trotters. Her husband Scott, a barrister was president of the Marburg Pacing Association for five years, up until his term finished two months ago.

She said she met her husband through her father.

“Dad gave Scott a couple of drives behind his horse Island Prince, and then he asked me out on a date. Later on, at our wedding at Yatala, Island Prince, was the ‘best horse’. He came to the wedding and was in all the photos,” she said.

Footnote: Tess Neaves training colours are yellow, purple sash, with yellow diamonds, purple horse heads and sleeves. Black with red stripes and white sleeves.

Photo Finish
The Tess Neaves trained and Leonard Cain driven Foxi Five (2) proves too smart winning the six race at Redcliffe Paceway last Wednesday evening (November 1). It was the 3-year-old Tintin In America gelding’s first win for Neaves.
The Neaves family pictured in New Zealand for the first time in July this year at Queenstown. “We loved every minute of it,” Tess said.

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