Father and son Frank and Joe Cleary compete head-to-head in Queanbeyan Cup

Joe and Frank Cleary will take each other on in the Queanbeyan Cup this Sunday. Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong
Joe and Frank Cleary will take each other on in the Queanbeyan Cup this Sunday. Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong

If Joe Cleary's living in his father Frank's shadow, then it's a shadow he's very proud to be in.

The duo will take each other on in a good field in their home town cup, the Queanbeyan Cup (2000 metres), on Sunday.

Joe boasts two runners - $4-favourite Uncle Gerry and $6-third-favourite Rosaruby - while Frank has $12-shot That's Freedom.

Uncle Gerry was a short-head off winning last year's Queanbeyan Cup, just missing out in a head bob with Midnight Obsession - it would've been Joe's third straight win in the Cup to take him two clear of Frank.

The father-son duo Joe and Frank Cleary. Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong

The father-son duo Joe and Frank Cleary. Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Frank's one win came with Bomber Command in 2009 and while he has a Golden Slipper, a couple of Magic Millions, two Black Opals and The Galaxy to his name it's the Queanbeyan Cup and the Slipper that take pride of place on the cabinet.

That's the shadow Joe speaks of and one he's happy to be part of, having grown up in the racing game.

"There's no denying Franko's not getting any younger, I'm looking at spreading my wings a little bit, but it's always a good rivalry when you're running in your home-town cup and you take on your father," Joe said.

"A lot of people say to me, 'You're living in your father's shadow' and I just say, 'It's a very proud shadow to live in'.

"If I get beat a head, I hope it's Franko that beats me."

Joe said Uncle Gerry will look to lead and get a break coming down the hill into the home straight - if anyone over runs him, then he hopes it's either Rosaruby or Frank's That's Freedom.

He said Rosaruby was the class horse in the field and he was "never so happy to run 12th" with her in the Anniversary Highway (1400m) in Sydney two weeks ago.

Frank said That's Freedom's been in good form, having won at Canberra last start, but felt drawing barrier 14 made it a tough ask.

He had no plans of giving it away while he still had owners like John McIntyre and Alan Hawke supporting him.

"He's got two against one, but you only need one to win it," Frank said.

"The old bull and the young bull. I'm still enjoying it. I don't keep near as many as I used to. I'm still enjoying it, while they keep providing a horse for me I'll keep doing it too.

"As my wife said once, 'Take you away from a race horse and you're illiterate'."

QUEANBEYAN CUP DAY

Sunday: Queanbeyan Cup at Queanbeyan Racecourse, 5.14pm. Gates open 10am, first race 12.54pm. Adults $15, pensioners $10, children free.