Country Cups Challenge is taking shape

Bush horses gallop their way towards a big Brisbane race

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Evergreen Fab's Cowboy might have raced himself into another trip to Brisbane for the Challenge Cup at Doomben.

Evergreen Fab's Cowboy might have raced himself into another trip to Brisbane for the Challenge Cup at Doomben.

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The $105,000 Country Cups Challenge will be run in Brisbane and may feature horses from at least 10 regional towns.

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AT least 10 regional centres could have runners flying parochial colours in the inaugural Country Cups Challenge in Brisbane on November 30.

After 16 qualifying events staged between September 28 and November 16, Racing Queensland officials have been presented with 15 individual winners and most are expected to advance to the $105,000 Cup at Doomben.

Toowoomba could dominate after three runners from local stables - Ritchford (Jackie Crompton), Splitz and Atouchmore (Matt Kropp) - won respective qualifiers in Tara, Stanthorpe and Roma.

Miles-based Bevan (Billy) Johnson could have two starters after Blackall and Charleville victories by his horses Fab's Cowboy and Money Ad.

Likewise, Atherton trainer Janel Ryan has qualified We Just Love It (Innisfail) and Polar Blast (Cairns) following their wins in Far North Queensland.

Also in the running will be Barcaldine through the Patrick O'Toole-trained Hunter Island, Blackall (Dennis O'Brien with Barberance), Mackay (Olivia Cairns, Mason's Chance), Mt Isa (Damien Finter, Deadly Choices), Oakey (Graham Banks, Hidden Budget), Rockhampton (Ricky Vale, San Vincenzo) and Wondai (Lindsay Anderson, Clouds).

It is understood the Townsville-trained Arno Bay, successful in the Ewan qualifier on September 28, has been retired.

RQ would need to name other contenders if it were to run with a capacity field of 16.

Country racing attention on November 23 will be shared across meetings in Blackall, Clermont, Dalby, Gympie and Pentland. Of greatest interest will be the $9500 Clermont Lightning (1000m), $12,000 Diggers Cup (1470m) in Gympie and $12,000 Hammer & Co Cup (1600m) in Pentland.

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