Hanover Square storms home to win Battle of the Bush final
horse racing: A neck-and- neck race between the favourite and a roughie left trainers Bevan 'Billy' and Mel Johnson ecstatic after Hanover Square prevailed in the 1200m Battle of the Bush series final and took home the $125,000 prize.
The Miles-based trainers are being heaped with praise after Hanover Square, ridden by Michael Cahill ($17), stormed home to win by a half-neck from $3.30 favourite Deadly Choices, with Marksfield ($14) coming in third.
"The distance was perfect for him. He likes to settle back in the run and than chase home,” Mel Johnson said.
"Michael rode him to the instructions perfectly. He did his homework on the horse and did everything we could have wanted.”
Having only trained Hanover Square for the past month, Johnson paid tribute to the five-year-old gelding's previous trainer, Leonard Mawn.
"He deserves most of the credit. We're just lucky Hanover seems to be happy here and has settled in nicely,” she said.
Winning the Barcaldine Battle of the Bush qualifier a fortnight earlier enabled the Johnsons to be eligible to compete in the final at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
"It's the qualifiers that has breathed a lot of life into country racing,” Johnson said.
"More and more young people are now putting their hands up to get shares in horses, which is supporting local communities and country trainers.
"Battle of the Bush is the smartest and most positive move Racing Queensland could have made.”
While the Johnsons spent most of Saturday night celebrating, the first thing they did after their win was take an hour with their horses.
"Being able to take that time with them and just relax and enjoy was truly a highlight,” she said.