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Surprise Pack Bursts Into TAB Battle of the Bush Final

By Kobie O'Brien

Seven-year-old mare Mia Host has made a mess of the Thangool TAB Battle of the Bush field over the weekend. No runner was able to get within two-lengths of the track specialist as she careered away to victory in the qualifier.

Trained locally by Damien Rideout, Mia Host made it 4 placings from 5 starts at the track, defeating All Host and Still The Same to secure a spot in the Eagle Farm final on June 22. After putting the writing on the wall with a win in open company over 1075m at Thangool in April, she then faced a very hot Scorcha at Rockhampton in a significantly harder BM69 before taking on Now Ask Me just seven days later.

It was the tough test that seemed to be the making of the modest 63-rater. She was rated to perfection by jockey Elyce Smith, never seeing the backside of a horse with a perfect start from barrier 5. Bevan Johnson’s Still The Same was an eye-catcher at big odds, running on gamely against the pattern of the day. He’s crying out for more distance! While All Host couldn’t quite find the front.

While it was expected the runner up in the Longreach qualifier would earn a final spot for running second to Fab’s Cowboy, the champ wasn’t to be outdone twice as he again saluted in the Cunnamulla qualifier giving Henry Forster’s Bush Caviar another shot after being edged out in a photo finish to the final at Doomben in 2018.

Coincidently, the second horse in a race has also qualified for the final in as many days as Machu Picchu made it back to back wins with a close 0.4-length win over the speedy Tycoon Zip at Nanango. It wasn’t to be for last year’s finalists Go Get Sum and Canid as they bucked the current trend of last year’s finalists coming back as the first two horses put in a dominant display, gapping the field by 5 lengths.

Mareeba, Goondiwindi, Cloncurry and Bowen will host this weekend’s qualifiers.