Confident country trainers set out for the metro track
COUNTRY racing will be at the forefront of the metropolitan track this weekend, when Racing Queensland's annual Battle of the Bush series comes to a head at Eagle Farm.
Trainers and thoroughbreds from across the state are in it to win it in Saturday's 1200m final, including Roma's Craig Smith and his five-year-old gelding Malibu Affair.
Smith is backing it up from last year's run with Timetus and is in high spirits about the Battle.
"It's a hard race to try and qualify one for but it is good to have a runner in it again and have a crack at the big prizemoney,” Smith said.
"This is a great chance for country people to race for the big money and it makes it very competitive because once you do qualify a horse, you've got to try and win it.
"It would be a tick off the bucket list, because it's country Queensland's iconic race now, basically.”
The sentiment rings true around the racing community, which has gotten behind the series since its inception last year.
A place in the final comes with certain clout and $125,000 in prizemoney makes for a significant boost to bush racing as a whole.
"The Battle of the Bush has given trainers right across Queensland something to aspire to,” Racing Queensland general manager of thoroughbreds Simon Stout said.
"Last year's final was one of the highlights on the Queensland racing calendar. With significant prizemoney increases, generous sponsorship from TAB and enhanced marketing activity, we expect the atmosphere for next weekend's final to be nothing short of electric.”
The runners in the Battle of the Bush final are:
- Fab's Cowboy (Bevan Johnson, Miles)
- Bush Caviar (Henry Forster, Ilfracombe)
- Marksfield (Matt Kropp, Toowoomba)
- Kakakenny (Rodney Little, Ilfracombe)
- Deadly Choices (Damien Finter, Mt Isa)
- Stellar Knight (Olivia Carins, Mackay)
- Tycoon Zip (Shane Smith, Oakey)
- Music Scene (David Reynolds, Dalby)
- Machu Picchu (Brian Laherty, Nanango)
- Malibu Affair (Craig Smith, Roma)
- Sweet Surprise (John Manzelmann, Mackay)
- Hanover Square (Bevan Johnson, Miles)
- Mia Host (Damien Rideout, Thangool)
- Split the Atom (Robert Burow, Mt Isa)
- Little Stryker (Renee Schluenz, Innisfail)
- Kahuna (Nippy Seymour, Mackay)