By Glenn Davis
Mason’s Chance is the new country champion after the gelding bettered a feat held jointly by the world’s best galloper Winx in winning the inaugural Battle Of The Bush Final at Doomben on Saturday.
One of two runners saddled by Mackay trainer Olivia Cairns, Mason’s Chance flashed home to edge out Bush Caviar by a short half head with Go Get Some third, a further short neck away.
The win was Mason’s Chance’s ninth of the season which surpassed Winx and former West Australian Trap For Fools who each had eight wins for season 2017-2018 before the Battle Of The Bush Final.
Cairns, who also saddled up Stellar Knight, heaped praise on jockey Justin Stanley who she has shared a successful partnership in recent times.
“It’s been a massive task to get here with Mason’s Chance and Stellar Knight,” an emotional Cairns said.
“I couldn’t split them before the race and Stellar was just behind Mason’s in the run but it was a super ride from Justin.
“He (Stanley) won on Sporting Page when he came down here last year.”
Mason’s Chance covered more than 3,000 kilometres to qualify for the Battle Of The Bush final after being edged out by Stellar Knight at Home Hill in May.
He had also been to Emerald, Thangool and Bowen before finally securing a final spot by winning at Barcaldine.
Mason’s Chance started with Chris Munce in Brisbane before being sent to John Manzelmann who won a maiden from 11 starts with the son of Pressday.
“Chris said he was a lunatic and would either be a star in the bush or would never race,” Cairns said.
“When he came to me he had a rap sheet a mile long but I haven’t had a problem with him.
“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.”
Earlier exciting filly Granny Red Shoes showed she’s worthy of an interstate trip in the spring following a commanding win in the Listed Winning Edge Presentations Stakes (1350m).
Despite being last on the home turn, jockey Blake Shinn was never worried before the daughter of Not A Single Doubt stormed home for an easy 4-1/4 length win over Soaring Heart.
Trainer Toby Edmonds will confer with connections before finalising a spring campaign but current thoughts are focused on the Group 1 Flight Stakes at Randwick or Group 1 Thousand Guineas at Flemington in the spring.
“She’s taken nice steps gradually and it’s pleasing to finish off her preparation with two Stakes wins,” Edmonds said.
“She’s a filly with a bright future.”
Shinn was never concerned when Granny Red Shoes, a $280,000 buy at the Magic Millions sales, was last and later backed the stables spring plans.
“The owners and Toby might have been worried when I was back last but I was never worried," Shinn said.
“A mile is not beyond her and she’s worthy of going to either Sydney or Melbourne.”
Racing Queensland webnews June 23