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Punter's Guide to Thoroughbred Tracks
By Craig Sheppard
Six horses have qualified for the TAB Battle of the Bush final at Eagle Farm on June 22. We’ll find out who qualifiers seven and eight are this Saturday when Charleville and Home Hill host their Battle of the Bush races. Here’s a look at who the leading contenders are for each race.
Wicked Woody (3) enters this race full of confidence after bolting in by seven-lengths here over 1100m in the Quilpie Newmarket. He entered the straight in front before booting clear. It’s hard to see Gendebien and Malibu Affair turning the tables on him. He’s undefeated in three starts at the track.
Tapestry Vision (5) was eight-weeks between runs when finishing fifth by two-lengths in the Bundaberg Battle of the Bush qualifier. He was in contention for the bulk of the race but condition gave out late. He’ll be fitter here and should enjoy a nice run on the speed.
Gendebien (2) finished second to Wicked Woody but was seven-lengths behind in the Quilpie Newmarket. The start prior he finished a narrow second in the Noorama Cup. Before the Charleville Newmarket he was undefeated in two previous starts at the track with the last being a 6.25 length demolition job. Meets Wicked Woody better at the weights this time around.
Malibu Affair (7) was beaten by eight-lengths by Wicked Woody last start in the Quilpie Newmarket. The start prior finished second by four-lengths to Fab’s Cowboy in the Gladstone Battle of the Bush qualifier. The Smart Missile gelding has finished in the top three in his past six starts so he’s always in the mix.
The Greatest (2) finished third by 1.75 lengths in the Gordonvale Battle of the Bush qualifier. It was a solid effort considering that he was tasked with trying to reel in the leader. He’s now having his fourth run back this preparation so should be in peak fitness. Wanderson D’Avila taking the ride is a positive.
Stellar Knight (1) has gone off the boil since finishing fourth at Mackay four starts back. Since that run he’s finished 6.75 lengths from the winner over this course and distance, 19.7 lengths behind Fab’s Cowboy in the Gladstone qualifier and then 11.95 lengths last at Charters Towers. He gets his chance to reclaim some form against this opposition.
Point Forward (4) turned around some average efforts at Gordonvale last start where he finished third by 2.5 lengths. He is up in class here but he does benefit from a drop of 5kg. Getting the services of gun jockey Justin Stanley is certainly a big plus.