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Meet The Qualifiers: 2019 TAB Battle of the Bush

Fab’s Cowboy

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Age: 7

Breeding:  by GREENWOOD LAKE (USA)  from REAL LIVE WOMAN

QTIS: No

Owners: Miss E E M Currin, Mr P W C Currin

Qualifier won: Gladstone

Trainer Name: Bevan ‘Billy’ Johnson

Trainer Location: Miles

Years in the industry:  My whole life

Hanover Square

Age: 5

Breeding:  by MANHATTAN RAIN  from BEAM

QTIS: No

Owners: Mr L F Mawn, Ms J Rayner

Qualifier won: Barcaldine

Trainer Name: Bevan ‘Billy’ Johnson

Trainer Location: Miles

Years in the industry:  My whole life

What does it mean to qualify Fab’s Cowboy for the 2019 TAB Battle of the Bush Final?

Both of the horses owners are really really great friends of ours so it means a lot that they trust their horses with us and have in our ability to produce their best on race day and to win for either one of them would probably mean more than winning it for ourselves. That prize money to them is huge its like winning the Melbourne Cup.

Why do you think of the Battle of the Bush has been so well received? 

It’d been huge for country racing on all ends. It’s impacted everyone, not just owners or people that train horses or ride them, the barrier attendants to the committee and volunteers that have hosted a qualifying day, the buzz and anticipation is mammoth and its bought back an enthusiasm for racing which hasn’t been seen for a long time. It’s bought new blood into country racing.

Tell us a little bit about yourself?

We’re extremely superstitious. We don’t have anything. At the end of the day we might not win every race, but when you’re going great you don’t change things and we’ve been going great for a number of years so we don’t change anything. Everything is done a certain way and we’re pedantic and will not cut any corners what so ever. This is not just a hobby, its not even making a living its just a passion and a way of life, we live, breathe and eat everything to do with racing.  

What would winning the 2019 TAB Battle of the Bush Final with Fab’s Cowboy mean to you?

It would definitely be ranked up there with one of our highest achievements. Winning the Birdsville Cup is up there but winning the country racing premiership consecutively has also been huge for us.

Bush Caviar

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Age: 8

Breeding: by TYCOON RULER  from PRECIOUS VERSE

QTIS: Yes 

Owners: Mr H C Forster

Qualifier won: Cunnamulla

Trainer Name: Henry ‘Boy” Forster

Trainer Location: Ilfracombe

Years in the industry: 40

What does it mean to qualify Bush Caviar for the 2019 TAB Battle of the Bush Final?

Well there’s a lot of trainers out here, and only the two horses from out this way have gone through. Kakakenny and Bush Caviar are two horses that qualified last year and they’ve done it again this year. There’s plenty of trainers have plenty more horses than us and haven’t gone through.

Why do you think of the Battle of the Bush has been so well received? 

There’s a lot of miles in it and I travelled a lot of miles this year for it. The family too, they want to go there so I want to get him right so they can go and enjoy themselves.

Tell us a little bit about yourself?

When I started training there wasn’t much money in it I tell ya, but anyhow we’re still poking along and we’re still going.  

What would winning the 2019 TAB Battle of the Bush Final with Bush Caviar mean to you?

It would mean a hell of a lot for the bank account. Finishing runner up from last year was good money too.

Marksfield

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Age: 8

Breeding: by CHATEAU ISTANA (GB)  from IMPERIAL WAY

QTIS: Yes 

Owners: Mr J A Payne, Mrs J Ruse, Mr D J Butler, Mr P G Ruse, Mrs N J Ruse, Mr B Trkulja, Ms K S Kropp

Qualifier won: Bundaberg

Trainer Name: Matt Kropp

Trainer Location: Toowoomba

Years in the industry: 20 years

What does it mean to qualify Marksfield for the 2019 TAB Battle of the Bush Final?

We’re really stoked to have him in it. I bought the horse for some fellas that were working on the gas fields and they wanted a horse that they could chase around Chinchilla and Roma and those sorts of places. He won his class 1 at Miles and just improved and improved and sort of went through the grades and ended up winning a restricted Saturday race in town so they’ve had quite a bit of fun with him.

Why do you think of the Battle of the Bush has been so well received? 

It’s given anyone from anywhere a chance to get to a nice race in town, its still a restricted race and it’s a crack at some good dough, and what a fun concept for everyone to go and have a good day in town.

Tell us a little bit about yourself?

We just love it because its our sport. My family and kids are involved in all sorts of disciplines involving horses, they campcraft and show jump and our horses racing is just another thing that we make a living out of but its also something we love, and that’s basically what it is to us. We’ve met some terrific people that have become not only long term clients but great family friends so we’ve been really fortunate in that way.

What would winning the 2019 TAB Battle of the Bush Final with Marksfield mean to you?

It would be as big a thrill as we’ve had in racing if we could win it. We’ve had a couple of Roma Cup wins and the three year old guineas at Toowoomba but that would be a massive result for us.

 

Kakakenny

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Age: 7

Breeding: by MURTAJILL  from RANSOM CLAIM

QTIS: No

Owners: Dowling, Mr G F Stoll

Qualifier won: Longreach

Trainer Name: Rodney Little

Trainer Location: Ilfracombe

Years in the industry: 40

What does it mean to qualify Kakakenny for the 2019 TAB Battle of the Bush Final?

It’s a thrill alright. It’s really good because I didn’t know if he’d come up again this prep from a spell. We’ve got his feet pretty good now so it’s a good start.

Why do you think of the Battle of the Bush has been so well received? 

It gives us a chance to go down there and rub shoulders with the big boys. You get to meet a lot more people. It’s a very good day.

Tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’ve been with horses ever since I was a kid. I grew up on a big station called Rookwood which was one of the biggest stations around back in that day and I grew up ringing and that sort of stuff so I’ve been around horses all my life. I learnt a lot there and learned off some of the old trainers in those days.

What would winning the 2019 TAB Battle of the Bush Final with Kakakenny mean to you?

It would really be one of the best chapters of my life, I haven’t got too much longer I don’t think to keep going at it so it would just be one of the best things in my life.

Machu Picchu

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Age: 6

Breeding: by KRUPT  from MANU PERU

QTIS: No

Owners: Mr B W Laherty, Mr D N Laherty

Qualifier won: Warwick

Trainer Name: Brian Laherty

Trainer Location: Nanango

Years in the industry: 30

What does it mean to qualify Machu Picchu for the 2019 TAB Battle of the Bush Final?

It’s a bit of a pleasure and a bit of a buzz to get her in there. Another trainer here Glenn Richardson had 2 in last year so I thought we’d try and get this one in this year. It’s a high-profile sort of a race.

Why do you think of the Battle of the Bush has been so well received? 

People seem to be more interested in it now that it’s been promoted well, and it’s just a great race to be in you know. It’s great for the country people to get in, and you’ve got to have the right style of horse to get into it it. It’s not easy to get into you’ve got to have a good one to get into it and it will be harder and harder in the future.

Tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’ve basically only really had those country sort of horses. The first one I had, Slerch, he won 9 for me but he was only beaten 2 and a half lengths at Eagle Farm back in 2007.

What would winning the 2019 TAB Battle of the Bush Final with Machu Picchu mean to you?

Well it would be a good trainers fee. My son is on with me too and it would be good for him to get a bit out of it.

Deadly Choices

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Age: 5

Breeding:  GOLDEN SNAKE (USA)  from MAGIC IDOL

QTIS: No

Owners: Mr L W Miller, Mr L A Hick, Mrs W R Hick

Qualifier won: Cloncurry

Trainer Name: Damien Finter

Trainer Location: Mount Isa

Years in the industry: 40

What does it mean to qualify Deadly Choices for the 2019 TAB Battle of the Bush Final?

Its great, especially for all the owners with the big money to pay all the bills. In country Queensland we usually only race for small money so if we could pull of a win like that it would cover a lot of the bills.

Why do you think of the Battle of the Bush has been so well received? 

It’s got the whole industry talking. A lot of country towns are a part of it and a lot of country horses are a part of it. You can imagine the betting turn over, a lot of people from here will be backing Deadly Choices and Split The Atom and it’s just great for these small communities.  

Tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’ve just grown up with horses all my life and have 3 or 4 in work at a time. It’s just a bit of a hobby and keeps you off the streets. Every weekend you travel to a different race meet somewhere, you meet good people and its good fun.

What would winning the 2019 TAB Battle of the Bush Final with Deadly Choices mean to you?

It would be great, it would be great for Wendy Hick, because Wendy bred the horse. She picked out the mare and she’s raced  3 or 4 of them and got another couple of younger brothers going through the system at the moment so it would be good for them.

Mia Host

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Age: 7

Breeding: by HOST (CHI)  from FOUR SEASONS

QTIS: No

Owners: Mr R G Rideout, Mr R A Rideout, Mr D S Rideout

Qualifier won: Thangool

Trainer Name: Damien Rideout

Trainer Location: Thangool

Years in the industry: 20 Years

What does it mean to qualify Mia Host for the 2019 TAB Battle of the Bush Final?

Its pretty special, just to even have a runner in it. Its not easy to win one of the qualifiers.

Why do you think of the Battle of the Bush has been so well received? 

I think its good for the bush trainers. It’s not every day we get to go down there with a horse to run, or to have one good enough to go at all which would be the case for most bush trainers. It’s only the second year running but it is a top idea.

Tell us a little bit about yourself?

Apart from winning the Kosciusko last year not really, I’m a quite achiever and keep to myself and just poke along. 

What would winning the 2019 TAB Battle of the Bush Final with Mia Host mean to you?

It would be pretty special because it’s a family affair with the old man and my uncle and myself. We’ve got a third each so it would mean a bit to them as well.

Music Scene

Age: 6

Breeding: by KAPHERO  from SMYTZER'S MAGIC

QTIS: No

Owners: Mr D W Reynolds, Mrs H J Reynolds, Mr G W Reynolds

Qualifier won: Goondiwindi

Trainer Name: David Reynolds

Trainer Location: Dalby

Years in the industry: 12

What does it mean to qualify Music Scene for the 2019 TAB Battle of the Bush Final?

Every bush trainer strives for it. It’s become something that they cant take away from us. I’m a big advocate for it and I think its great and unique for us.

Why do you think of the Battle of the Bush has been so well received? 

At the end of the day, we have limited opportunities when you’ve got to travel and I’m probably a bit more fortunate than the Craig Smiths and Billy Johnsons and those blokes they’ve got to travel a little bit more. Dalby being the central hub I feel a bit more privileged than say someone from Ilfracombe, those blokes have to travel miles where I’ve got 3 hours to Brisbane. It’s something that they can never take away from us though, it’s the best of the bush and that’s the way I’m looking at it.

Tell us a little bit about yourself?

We’re just everyday people, we love the industry and we love the country and we go to the country every day of the week. We’ve got a lot of great friends who are great trainers around my age like Glenn Richardson who was in it last year and Brenton Andrew who won the Country Cup, Scotty Rodgers and Benny Waldron you know, we’ve got a good group of mates there and we love going to the races and catching up with them.

What would winning the 2019 TAB Battle of the Bush Final with Music Scene mean to you?

The quality of horses that are in the race, it is the best of the bush that we could supply. It would be pretty amazing but the highlight for us is just to be there. It was pretty disappointing for us last year I think we were the next emergency. This year we get our chance and what will be will be.

Sweet Surprise

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Age: 6

Breeding: by ZIZOU  from DOWNSIZE (NZ)

QTIS: No

Owners: Mr B W Rollings, Mrs J R Rollings

Qualifier won: Bowen

Trainer Name: John Manzelmann

Trainer Location: Mackay

Years in the industry: 30

What does it mean to qualify Sweet Surprise for the 2019 TAB Battle of the Bush Final?

It’s a great thrill. Its not every day we get to race in a race of this profile, so it’s a great thrill.

Why do you think of the Battle of the Bush has been so well received? 

The concept is fantastic, it gives everybody something big to try and achieve, and definitely the prize money.

Tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m a really good bloke. Nah, I try my hardest to achieve what we can with the horses that we get. Obviously they are mostly tired horses. We try and place them in the right spots where they can earn the most for their owners.

What would winning the 2019 TAB Battle of the Bush Final with Sweet Surprise mean to you?

Apart from the big financial kick it would be another feather in the cap just to win a race on a metro day.

Stellar Knight

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Age: 6

Breeding: CHOISTAR  from INTANGIBLE (NZ)

QTIS: Yes

Owners: Mr G R O'connell

Qualifier won: Home Hill, Bowen

Trainer Name: Olivia Cairns

Trainer Location: Mackay

Years in the industry: 24

What does it mean to qualify Stellar Knight for the 2019 TAB Battle of the Bush Final?

It’s pretty exciting. For me it would have been nice to have the two of them but the other fella went amiss. He’s done nothing wrong, he won two of the qualifiers and done nothing wrong the other day at home so were going into it well.

Why do you think of the Battle of the Bush has been so well received? 

Because its an out and out country race. It reads easy on paper to have 5 country starts to just go and win a qualifier. But its not easy to do, at all.

Tell us a little bit about yourself?

I love the animal more than anything. I’d never go to the races for the social side of it if I didn’t have horses, I’m in it for more of the love of the animal.

What would winning the 2019 TAB Battle of the Bush Final with Stellar Knight mean to you?

To back it up would be amazing. It will be something I will be targeting for the rest of my career, if I win it again ill be thinking I have to go back again.

Little Stryker

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Age: 5

Breeding: by STRYKER  from MESSALINA

QTIS: No

Owners: R A Schluenz, Mr J A Lewis, Ms M A Lewis, Miss J L Christesen, Mr B Cotter, Mrs K Cotter, Mr L J Buckingham, Mrs A L Miller

Qualifier won: Cairns

Trainer Name: Renee Schluenz

Trainer Location: Innisfail

Years in the industry: 30

What does it mean to qualify Little Stryker for the 2019 TAB Battle of the Bush Final?

It’s pretty cool. I wasn’t really expecting her to go through but I thought I’d have a go at it. It was very cool.  

Why do you think of the Battle of the Bush has been so well received? 

I love the opportunity we have. It’s a really good incentive and I just love that we are apart of it now and not always racing up there against the same company with similar horses. The carnivals up here a good but I do like the incentives to go down there. As I said I didn’t expect her to qualify but she’s just been going so well so why not?

Tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’ve never had one good enough to go down to a race like this so its very exiting.

What would winning the 2019 TAB Battle of the Bush Final with Little Stryker mean to you?

I think it would be very surreal and take a long time to sink in. But I wouldn’t be totally shocked, she’s a good girl and she tries.

Split The Atom

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Age: 7

Breeding: STATUE OF LIBERTY (USA)  from CHILEAN MISS

QTIS: No

Owners: Mr P O L Mcleish, Mrs L M McLeish, Mr P O Mcleish, Mrs A R Mcleish

Qualifier won: Mount Isa

Trainer Name: Robert Burow

Trainer Location: Mount Isa

Years in the industry: 10

What does it mean to qualify Split The Atom for the 2019 TAB Battle of the Bush Final?

It’s unreal as usual. It’s definitely a great experience for everyone involved, and we’re all very excited.

Why do you think of the Battle of the Bush has been so well received? 

It gives a lot of people in the bush a chance to experience the races down there and talk to different people and trainers and you pick up different ideas off people of what we might be doing right or wrong out here so I think it improves in general, the quality of racing out here as well.

Tell us a little bit about yourself?

I run a convenience store in Mount Isa so I’m a grocer and part time horse trainer.  

What would winning the 2019 TAB Battle of the Bush Final with Split The Atom mean to you?

I’d hate to think what would happen if we did win it. It would be pretty huge for all involved  I can guarantee that.

Tycoon Zip

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Age: 5

Breeding: by WRITTEN TYCOON  from TRAIN OF LOVE

QTIS: No

Owners: Ms S M Mesken, Mr S L Smith

Qualifier won: Nanango

Trainer Name: Shane L Smith

Trainer Location: Oakey

Years in the industry: 20

What does it mean to qualify Tycoon Zip for the 2019 TAB Battle of the Bush Final?

It means the world to both myself and Stacy. We just missed out last year on it and this year we’re in it so happy days.

Why do you think of the Battle of the Bush has been so well received? 

Apart from the money, it brings the best of that particular area to Brisbane, from all over Queensland. It brings everyone together on such a big day to see who the best horse is.

Tell us a little bit about yourself?

Some days you get up and you think why am I doing this? Especially in the winter days. But then a horse comes along like Tycoon Zip and it makes it all worth while. We enjoy the horses. We train and own all our horses and for that reason you fall in love with them. They are not a number, so you try and look after them the best you can to try and get them to perform to the best of their ability.

What would winning the 2019 TAB Battle of the Bush Final with Tycoon Zip mean to you?

I think just to be in it is everything and to win it would be a bonus. That’s all it is to us. To win it would be great but to just be in it is everything to us. Win lose or draw we’re there.

Malibu Affair

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Age: 5

Breeding: SMART MISSILE  from MALIBU ROAD (USA)

QTIS: No

Owners: Mr N Fuller

Qualifier won: Charleville

Trainer Name: Craig Smith

Trainer Location: Roma

Years in the industry: 33

What does it mean to qualify Malibu Affair for the 2019 TAB Battle of the Bush Final?

It’s a hard race to try and qualify one for but its good to have a runner in it again to have a crack at the big prize money.

Why do you think of the Battle of the Bush has been so well received? 

Its just great for the country people to race for the big prize money, it makes it very competitive. I try and race a lot of mine at the provincials because of the better prize money but it is very hard to qualify a horse, and of course once you do qualify a horse you’ve got to try and win it.

Tell us a little bit about yourself?

I just like taking them anywhere to win a race. I just like training the horse to find that next win I suppose or get it going better than the last start. That’s the beauty of the game.

What would winning the 2019 TAB Battle of the Bush Final with Malibu Affair mean to you?

It would be a tick off the bucket list. It’s country Queensland’s iconic race now basically. We’ll be looking for one to qualify next year too.

Kahuna

Age: 6

Breeding: by WRITTEN TYCOON  from LADY SOMERS

QTIS: No

Owners: Mr D M Core, Ms M Prizeman, Mr A J Seymour

Qualifier won: Bowen, Cairns

Trainer Name: Nippy Seymour

Trainer Location: Mackay

Years in the industry: 50

What does it mean to qualify Kahuna for the 2019 TAB Battle of the Bush Final?

It means a fair bit to me because ive been in the bush all my life and I've never been to Brisbane with a horse, ever. I trained out at Hughenden all the time up until about 5 years ago.

Why do you think of the Battle of the Bush has been so well received? 

It brings everybody together and it gives everybody a chance to be on the big stage. It's not everyday any of us would be here and with the prizemoney, I’m glad to go out bush just to win $500 so this is unreal.

Tell us a little bit about yourself?

I was born in Cloncurry and been fiddling with horses my whole life with my old man, he was with a good old horse trainer out there an I sort of found my way around with them. But as I said I’ve never had a horse in Brisbane before and I’ve never even driven there. My old mate with me won't drive the truck so I guess I have to, we’ll be flat out getting to the races.

What would winning the 2019 TAB Battle of the Bush Final with Kahuna mean to you?

It would mean a fair bit to me and the other bloke that’s in it David Core, ive been mates with him since 1972 so it would be very very special.