By Glenn Davis
Mackay trainer Olivia Cairns is already planning a third attempt at the Battle Of The Bush Final in the winter with Stellar Knight and is hopeful the old warrior can rediscover his best form at Townsville on Wednesday.
Stellar Knight, a Chelsea Jokic mount, will attempt to end a near-nine month losing streak in the Open Handicap (1200m).
The seven-year-old’s last win was at Bowen on June 1 last year.
Stellar Knight failed for the second time in the Battle Of The Bush Final last June when he beat only one runner home behind Chinchilla’s Hanover Square.
He finished fifth, less than two lengths behind stablemate Mason’s Chance in his first attempt the previous year.
“He’s run in the only two Battle Of The Bush finals but he was at the end of his campaign and had been up a long time in last year’s race,” Cairns said.
“He’s already qualified for this year’s race so he won’t have to do as much travelling when he goes down again later in the year.”
Cairns is hoping Stellar Knight will be at his peak after three runs this time in including his latest sixth to the Tracy Simmons-trained Proane in a 1280-metre Benchmark race on a heavy track at Bowen on January 31.
Stellar Knight has won nine times for Cairns since entering her stables in June, 2017.
“He’s not a horse you can declare but he can never be written off,” Cairns said.
“If there’s good speed he’ll be fit enough now to run 1200 metres and he’ll be competitive.
“He’s had three runs back but he spent two weeks in the paddock before his last run and he just needed that run.
“I’ve got a couple being aimed for the Battle Of The Bush Final this year and he’s one of them.”
Cairns has been training since 2002 and has had great success up north and has a Townsville trainers’ premiership on her CV.
She also has won the “big three” of the north in the Cleveland Bay Handicap (twice), Townsville Cup and Parra Nissan as well as a Cairns Cup and Cairns Amateur Cup.
Racing Queensland webnews February 10