By Glenn Davis
Inaugural Battle Of The Bush winner Mason’s Chance will be out to prove he’s worthy of another trip to Brisbane when he starts at a rare Sunday meeting at Townsville.
The Townsville Turf Club will host its first Sunday meeting since December 2 last year when it stages a seven-race program headed by the TTC Horse Of The Year “Dalon” Open Handicap (1400m).
Mason’s Chance, a winner of 10 of his 49 starts, will be ridden for only the second time by Les “Bubba” Tilley and has drawn a midfield barrier 5.
Mason’s Chance was crowned Queensland bush champion when he won the $100,000 Battle Of The Bush Final at Doomben in June last year.
However, the six-year-old subsequently suffered a massive form slump and didn’t win again for 16 months when successful at his most recent appearance at Bowen on October 12.
The win qualified Mason’s Chance for the $105,000 Country Cups Challenge final at Doomben on November 30.
Trainer Olivia Cairns, who is recovering after undergoing knee surgery this week, is hoping Mason’s Chance’s victory was no fluke and wants to see him win again before heading back to Brisbane.
“He won well at Bowen but he did it a strange way by leading,” Cairns said.
“He won a couple of races early in his career by leading when he was trained by John Manzelmann but he normally doesn’t lead.
“I think in Sunday’s race he’ll probably take a sit and be in the first four somewhere.
“Bubba (Tilley) has only ridden him once so it’ll be best for him to take a sit and get cover.”
Cairns is still mystified with Mason’s Chance’s form slump which saw him run 20 times before ending the drought at Bowen.
“I’m still not sure why it took him so long to win again,” she said.
“After he won the Battle Of The Bush he was struck down with a virus so I put him in the paddock straight away.
“He didn’t look good when he came back into work for his next campaign but he showed signs of his old form when he won last start.
“I took the blinkers off him a few starts back and put winkers on but I don’t think that’s made much difference.
“He’ll be hard to beat again and looks to be on the way back but I’ll be a lot more confident taking him back to Brisbane if he can string a couple of wins together.”
Racing Queensland webnews October 25