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Winx record under threat in Battle Of The Bush

By Glenn Davis

A former rogue galloper with a rap sheet a mile long is poised to surpass a record held jointly by champion mare Winx in the Battle Of The Bush Final at Doomben on Saturday.

Mackay-based Mason’s Chance has won eight races this season, the same as Winx and former Western Australian sprinter Trap For Fools.

Mason’s Chance has been in work since May last year and booked his place in the Battle Of The Bush Final after winning at Barcaldine on June 9.

A winner of eight of his 27 starts, Mason’s Chance is trained by Olivia Cairns and drew barrier two while stablemate Stellar Knight will jump from gate 12 in the 1200-metre final.

Cairns is no newcomer to Brisbane racing having sent runners south from her Mackay base several times over the past decade.

Cairns can’t split her pair although Stellar Knight has the upper hand whenever the pair have clashed.

“Every time they’ve met Stellar Knight has beaten Mason’s Chance but there’s not much between them,” Cairns said.

“Stellar Knight was an after thought for this race and he only got into this race when he beat Mason’s Chance in a qualifying race at Home Hill last month.”

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.

“He had no trust in anyone but once I taught him I wasn’t his enemy I’ve had no problems.”

Cairns is regarded as the Queen of the North due to her great success in country cups in central and north Queensland.

She has a number of highlights in her career including a Townsville trainers’ premiership a few seasons ago.

She also won the “big three” of the north in the Cleveland Bay (twice), Townsville Cup and Parry Nissan before edging out long-time title holder Roy Chillemi for her first trainers’ title in 2010.

Cairns was a former jockey before her riding career ended following an horrific fall at Cluden Park in 1998.

She spent two weeks in hospital and lost half of her liver due to the impact of the fall.

“I’m lucky to be alive really,” she said.

“It was a bad fall in 1998 and I lost half of my liver.

“I turned to training soon after with one horse and poked along for a while before I went professional in 2002.”

Racing Queensland webnews  June 21