By Kobie O'Brien
It will have to be a ‘deadly choice’ or a ‘dam good’ one to find the winner of the Mount Isa Battle of the Bush heat this Saturday.
Deadly Choices and Damgoodchoice look as though, on paper, they will fight it out for a spot in the final.
Damien Flinter-trained Deadly Choices is coming off a first-up 8.25-length demolition job in BM65 company after a narrow defeat in open class towards the end of 2018.
Jay Morris’ Damgoodchoice will be looking to make it four on-the-trot with competitors looking at a very imposing first-up record.
Damgoodchoice recorded back-to-back wins at the Mount Isa track in August 2018 before walking in at the iconic Birdsville carnival, recording a 3.25-length win in BM70 company.
That field included last year’s finalists Exstratum (Bevan Johnson) and Drinking Cocktails (Henry Forster).
Veterans Bush Caviar, Good Job Bro and Clateau are also among the nominations.
Bush Caviar interestingly avoided the Longreach qualifier under set-weights conditions to tackle the handicap at Mount Isa after a stint down south and copping 65.5kg for his troubles.
Longreach, Gordonvale and Warwick have also presented evenly-poised Battle of the Bush qualifiers in what will be a huge weekend of racing statewide.
Competitors in the Longreach qualifier have drawn the short straw with Fab’s Cowboy appearing at the top of the list.
However there will be plenty of others keen to match strong and knock the champ off prior to the Brisbane bout, with the speedy Avoid The Missus and last year’s finalist Kakakenny among the top chances.
In the north of the state, John Mazelmann’s The Greatest will be looking for a second ride to town in as many goes.
The Greatest will resume fresh off a Country Cups campaign, which saw him take on country racing’s best milers at Doomben in December last year.
Mazelmann’s runner gets into a very winnable race and the master Central Queensland trainer has a habit of producing winners in big races, with The Greatest a 4.25-length winner in the 2018 Emerald 100.
Shane Smith’s Tycoon Zip, which will compete at Warwick, has arguably the best form line yet coming into a Battle Of The Bush qualifier.
Tycoon Zip was beaten less than a length by city winner Publishing Power in the $25,000 Dalby Newmarket last start.
The 5-year-old is a five-time winner over 1000m, and in fact, broke the Wondai track record earlier this year.
However he is yet to see out the 1200m in a 33-start career.
Also converging on Warwick are 2018 Country Cups Challenge winner Baker Boy, last year’s Battle of the Bush finalist Go Get Sum, and talented Tom Button runner Mystic Forces.
Following this weekend, six finalists will have been decided, with the business end quickly upon us in what makes to be very exciting finish to the series.