By Kobie O'Brien
Trainer Glenda Bell will be hoping nine-year-old gelding Ossenhagen can recapture some of the magic form he showed as a youngster in Saturday’s TAB Battle of the Bush qualifier at Thangool.
Ossenhagen won back-to-back metropolitan races in Melbourne by an aggregate of 11-and-a-half lengths as a three-year-old.
Another strong performance on Saturday could earn him a return trip to the big smoke for the $125,000 Battle of the Bush Final at Eagle Farm on June 22.
Ossenhagen will jump from the inside gate in the field of 10 but Bell wasn’t exactly doing donuts.
“I don’t know whether barrier 1 will play the part, I would’ve liked to have drawn off the fence with him but that’s about the only query I have, the track will suit.”
The Thangool track has been kind to Ossenhagen in the past, visiting there twice for one win and finishing 2nd on the other occasion, with Bell thinking the firm surface will play into the hands of the 52-start veteran.
“It’s is a nice firm track, that’s what I like about it. I’d like to be up on speed at Thangool, you don’t see too many come from behind there.”
There looks to be some speed up front in the race with Darryl Gardner’s All Host engaged, with last-start runner up Gendebien and Mystic Forces also looking ominous on paper going off recent form.
Wayne Baker’s Gendebien has done his best Tom Melbourne impersonation by finishing 2nd in his last 3 consecutive starts and will be trying hard to go one better.
The Tom Button-trained Mystic Forces has been itching for a suitable track and a soft draw, one of which he has found here after previously winning at Thangool. However he drew barrier eight of 10.
Saturday’s qualifying also takes place at Nanango where a very strong field has been assembled, comprising of Country Cups winner Baker Boy, the speedy Tycoon Zip and last start winner Machu Picchu.
Go Get Sum and Canid are also among acceptances and should of those win will be the 4th horse from last year’s final to gain a place in this years edition joining Fab’s Cowboy, Kakakenny and Stellar Knight.
Racing Queensland ambassador Peter Moody will be on course, after previously visiting Charleville and Warwick to help promote the series.