Battle of the Bush finals

Battle of the Bush finalists now Brisbane-bound


Phillip Bate analyses news from the Queensland racing scene.


ALL 16 spots available in the highly anticipated $100,000 Battle of the Bush Final have now been filled after the win by Mason’s Chance at Barcaldine on Saturday, June 9.

The 16 heat winners will now head to Brisbane for the rich $100,000 final (1200m) being held on Tattersall's Tiara Day at Doomben, on Saturday, June 23. 

The  inaugural series has made headlines across the state since it launched on Anzac Day, April 25,  at Cunnamulla, where series ambassador Peter Moody attended. The series has since moved far and wide across eight country regions bringing the spirit of country racing alive at each host centre. To enter, horses must have competed in at least five non-TAB races in Queensland in the 12 months immediately preceding the acceptance date of that qualifier. 

Racing Queensland Non TAB Racing Manager Col Truscott said so-far there had been 15 individual winners, with Man Around Town winning both qualifiers at Gordonvale and Atherton. “This has allowed the second place-getter at Atherton, Big Tomee, to force its way into the final field. The second place-getter to Man Around Town at Gordonvale – Gingersnap – has since won a qualifier at Bowen, and had already gained ballot exemption for the final," he said.

Three trainers have dual qualifiers: Bevan Johnson (Fab’s Cowboy and Exstratum), Glenn Richardson (Klammer and Canid) and Olivia Cairns (Stellar Knight and Mason’s Chance).

The 16 qualifiers and trainers are:

  • Cunnamulla: Fab’s Cowboy (Bevan Johnson)
  • Emerald: Just call Me Louie (Fred Smith)
  • Bundaberg: Emperor Maximilian (Mark Elliott)
  • Gordonvale: Man Around Town (Trevor Rowe)
  • Longreach: Kakakenny (Rodney Little)
  • Mount Isa: Galea Warrior (Robert Burow)
  • Warwick: Klammer (Glenn Richardson)
  • Home Hill: Stellar Knight (Olivia Cairns)
  • Charleville: Timetus (Craig Smith)
  • Thangool: Exstratum (Bevan Johnson)
  • Nanango: Canid (Glenn Richardson)
  • Atherton: Big Tomee (Jeffrey Williams)
  • Bowen: Gingersnap (John Manzelmann)
  • Cloncurry: Winning Cocktails (Henry Forster)
  • Goondiwindi: Go Get Sum (Phyllis Kalinowski)
  • Barcaldine: Mason’s Chance (Olivia Cairns)

Mason’s Chance wins Battle of the Bush heat

FINALLY a finalist – a 600km drive from Mackay to Barcaldine paid off for North Queensland trainer Olivia Cairns when her 4YO gelding Mason’s Chance won the final qualifying race at Barcaldine on June 9 in the inaugural Battle of the Bush series.

It was a case of fifth-time-lucky for Mason’s Chance having being placed at his four  previous attempts to qualify at Bowen, Thangool, Home Hill and Emerald.

By Pressday from the winning Elusive Quality (USA) mare Sheer Opulence, Mason’s Chance is one of 13 winners from the only foal crop left by Group 1 winner Pressday prior to an untimely death. Mason’s Chance now has an excellent strike-rate of eight wins and 15 placings from just 27 starts which includes a purple-patch of form of five wins in succession at Rockhampton, Mackay and Townsville in February and early-March this year.

Euthanised after succumbing to a tumour on his spleen in January 2013, Pressday was retired to Eliza Park's Queensland operation as a foundation sire in 2012 covering 52 mares after a career highlighted in 2010 by winning Brisbane's two-year-old triple crown – the Group 2 Champagne Classic, Group 2 Sires' Produce Stakes and the Group 1 The TJ Smith Classic. He subsequently won the Group 2 Sandown Guineas before being sent to the USA which resulted in a placing at Listed level at Santa Anita before retiring to Eliza Park's Queensland operation.

Kilcoy Cup meeting has long term sponsorship

AN Australian record for continuous sponsorship of a major country race meeting is being claimed by Kilcoy Race Club president Con Searle on the eve of the Kilcoy Cup meeting being held this coming Saturday, June 16.

 “This year the Kilcoy Race Club will celebrate the 38th year that the Beavis and Bartels families have sponsored the Kilcoy Cup race day. This sponsorship has been a marvellous tradition and support from the families. In my opinion it would have to be an Australian record for continuous sponsorship of a major country race meeting. On behalf of the Kilcoy Race Club committee, members, friends and the community of Kilcoy I sincerely thank all the Beavis and Bartels families for their ongoing support,” Mr Searle said.

Six Hughes brothers are in a photo taken by amateur rider George Gordon the day after Edroex won the Kilcoy Cup in 1928. They are (from left) Jim, Bill, Artie, Bert, Alec, and Len Hughes.

Six Hughes brothers are in a photo taken by amateur rider George Gordon the day after Edroex won the Kilcoy Cup in 1928. They are (from left) Jim, Bill, Artie, Bert, Alec, and Len Hughes.

The race day will be a Dual Code race day with the combination of three Grass Harness races, Mini Trotting and seven gallop races. Feature gallop race is the Keith Beavis Memorial Kilcoy Cup to be run over 1200m for BM75 horses. The race is also a feature heat of the Winter Provincial Winter Series and has attracted an excellent field of sprinters.

A special feature at this year’s Kilcoy Cup meeting will be the 1928 Kilcoy Cup on loan from Noela  Hughes, wife of the late Jack Hughes who died aged 89 last year. The Cup was won by Edroex – a horse owned and trained by Jack’s brother Alec and ridden by his brother Artie. The Hughes family had seven sons. Six are in a photo taken by amateur rider George Gordon the day after Edroex won the Cup. Unfortunately Jack is not in the photo as he was only five weeks old when the photo was taken.

A champion campdraft rider and keen rugby league player, Jack was a wealth of knowledge on the history of Kilcoy and district over the past 60 to 70 years spending most of his time around the Kilcoy district. In fact, a supporting feature race on the program will be the 1900m Jack Hughes Memorial for BM58 horses.

“The Beavis and Bartels families have requested that a race be named in the memory of Jack Hughes who was instrumental in securing the sponsorship of the partnership some 38 years ago at a time that the Kilcoy Race Club was struggling to survive. Jack was a regular patron of the races and a personal friend of both Keith Beavis and Carl Bartels and managed one of their cattle properties, Timms Creek, in the Kilcoy district,” Mr Searle explained.

Ipswich has new racing museum

RACING enthusiasts attending this Saturday’s iconic Ipswich Cup meeting have the opportunity to visit the new on-course Ipswich Racing Museum.

Queensland CEO Brendan Parnell recently joined with officials from the Ipswich Turf Club and the Ipswich Chamber of Commerce to officially open the museum which is housed in an old tote building that the Ipswich Turf Club built in 1950 complete with 34 windows which were permanently closed when the building was transformed into a storage room.

The museum now provides a timeline dates back to the 1840’s and contains numerous items of memorabilia gathered by the club and donated by members of the racing fraternity. Items of interest include a copy of coverage of the first official race meeting in Queensland at the Grange in 1859, the Ipswich Cup of 1866 won by Jibboom, and totalisator equipment from the 1940s.

Memorabilia will also be included on the champion filly Eye Liner from the 1960s, photo finishes from mid-twentieth century, and more modern items such as female involvement in Ipswich Racing including Gai Waterhouse winning the Ipswich Cup, Gillian Heinrich winning the Ipswich Trainer's Premiership, and Tegan Harrison winning the Ipswich Cup after winning dual Ipswich Apprentice Jockey Premierships.

Ipswich Turf Club chairman Wayne Patch said it was important to acknowledge the impact horse racing has had on the community. “The Museum now provides the community with a timeline of racing in the region, including some of the great names of the industry. Horses such as Tulloch and Fitzgrafton; jockeys including Mick Dittman and Noel “Digger” McGrowdie and families including the Krugers have all had an impact on the Ipswich racing industry. Not only will the venue showcase Ipswich’s horse racing history, the room will provide the Club with another function space,” he said.

Mr Parnell said he was pleased to take part in opening of the museum honouring the past on the cusp of a new era for racing in Ipswich. “The Ipswich Turf Club plays a crucial part in the history of racing in this great state and it will continue to play a great part in the future. Racing Queensland announced last year in its Infrastructure Plan that there would be a $13 million redevelopment of this club funded by the Racing Infrastructure Fund and approved by the state government.

“While the course proper will be remediated there will also be a new building for jockeys, stewards, food and beverage facilities and a new function centre with facilities for on course patrons. The major works are due to start soon after the iconic Ipswich Cup,” he said. 


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