The Mackay galloper Mason’s Chance who traversed the dusty tracks of country Queensland to qualify in the Battle of the Bush final at Doomben last Saturday is the new champion of the bush.
Mason’s Chance is trained by Olivia Cairns and was ridden by Justin Stanley, and he bobbed his head right on the line to defeat the Henry Forster Ilfracombe-trained Bush Caviar ridden by Jim Byrne in a nail biting finish of the $100,000 race.
Placed third was Go Get Sum trained by Phyllis Kalinowski from Jandowae and ridden by Nathan Evans, while the Emerald-based Call Me Louie trained by Fred Smith, and ridden by Michael Cahill settled for fourth.
Ms Cairns, who had two starters, Mason’s Chance and Stellar Knight said while she went into the race quietly confident, the overall win was definitely overwhelming.
“It was one thing for the owner Bill Young to ask me to qualifying the horse to get a start in the big race, but to win it was certainly another level.” she said.
“It was a massive task to get in with both both qualifiers and it was a super ride from Justin Stanley.
“Racing Queensland certainly put on an amazing day and it had all the hype of a Group One meeting you would never have dreamed of, and the bush trainers were certainly a big part of the day – it was certainly a highlight.”
Mason’s Chance travelled a massive 4600 kilometres across country Queensland, and then another 700km plus to Doomben secure his start. After running third in qualifying races at Emerald, Bowen and Thangool and then a second to his stable mate Stellar Knight at Home Hill, the four-year-old gelding won the final qualifying leg at Barcaldine much to the delight of his connections.
Mason’s Chance started his race career with trainer Chris Munce in Brisbane before being sent to John Manzelmann in Mackay.
“He came to me with a rap sheet a mile long, but I haven’t had a problem with him,” Ms Cairns said.
“Chris said he was a lunatic and would either be a star in the bush, or never race.
“I was told he had a screw loose but all he needed was a mate as he had no trust in anyone until I taught him I wasn’t his enemy.”
Mason’s Chance will now head to the Mackay Newmarket in July.