115 Racecourse Road, Chinchilla / Sat 15 Dec
Lough Neagh Stakes
Doomben Racecourse, 75 Hampden Street, Ascot / Sat 15 Dec
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What is your background in Queensland Racing?
I was introduced into racing through my stepfather John Cairns who was also a jockey. I had a pretty bad race fall in 1998 and started training at the end of the year and the rest is history.
Tell us about your operation. How many horses do you have in work and how many people do you employ?
I have 14 horses in work at the moment and there’s three staff. I’ve had up to 35 and seven or eight staff but its wound down a little bit now.
What do you love about racing?
The animal more than anything. I’ve always had horses like I got my first pony at four and competed all my life through pony club, show jumping and polo cross, I did a bit of everything.
Tell us about the horses you have qualified for the final?
Stellar Knight – Career: 30-10:5:4
Stellar Knight was actually a secondary thought so that Mason’s Chance could have a travelling partner. He only had two non-tab starts in the last 12 months, so he had to be absolutely hammered with starts to get five under his belt to be eligible for a qualifier. He was made to carry 69 kilos and then 66 just so I could get him into a qualifier, and the first qualifier he ran in he won.
Mason’s Chance – Career: 27-8:9:6
I have only had him since January but his owner was keen to get him into this big final. He’s incredible – he’s been up since October last year and in 27 career starts he has collected a cheque 24 times. We had to take the long road to get him in, but we finally got there (at Barcaldine on June 9).
What do you think of the Battle of the Bush concept and what would it mean to win it?
It’s a really good opportunity really. It adds a lot of character to a big day and you get to rub shoulders with the big trainers and big jockeys.