With his family, including his sons who help with the horses, and owner Simpson in the mounting yard post-race, Oates declared it a victory for the Central West.
“We are locals, the owner is a local – a local businessman – he bought this horse to win a Longreach Cup,” Oates said.
“He gave me the horse at the start of the year, he has been inconsistent all year and he just took it to another level today, he took a step up.
“He showed that he belongs as an Open Company horse.”
The Magnus gelding went around in the 2020 edition of the Country Cups Challenge Final – beaten just over 15 lengths by Mareeba marvel Paniagua when he was trained by Simpson – with his new trainer hopeful of a better showing later this year.
“He will definitely go to the Final, that will be his target now,” Oates said.
“He will go for a break and he will come back for that. The prize money and to take our bush horses to the city, it is exciting.”
The opportunity to race a galloper on George Moore Stakes race day in December is not lost on Oates.
“I do this as a hobby with six or seven horses; I do not do this for a living, I love the horse,” Oates said.
“I ride my own horses in work.
“It is not a chore for me, it is the love of it, I get up every morning and look forward to it.
“We start early because we need to get to work after, which my son’s help me with.”
Racing Queensland Deputy Chair Sharon Dawson, who was on hand to watch the Longreach qualifier on Saturday, believes the Cup is an exciting concept for region stables.
“It gives these bush trainers a chance to take their horses to the big smoke at the end of the year,” Dawson said.
“Country racing is absolutely apart of the fabric of racing within Queensland, it brings communities together as it is the biggest event on the social calendar for a lot of these small communities.
“It is a great driver and a fantastic opportunity to get out and celebrate.
“Longreach has put it on for everyone.”
The Country Cups Challenge and Country Stampede returned bigger and better in 2021.
Over 20 heats will take place across regional Queensland with the best horses in country racing chasing a berth to battle it out in a Metropolitan final held at Doomben during the TAB Queensland Summer Racing Carnival.
Four qualifiers were run on the first weekend of the series - John Manzelmann’s Bernie’s Tiger winning at Ewan, Grand Symphony getting the money at Mt Isa and in Taroom, it was Coach for trainer Rodney Hay.
In the Stampede qualifiers, Jason Judge’s Hard Stride booked a ticket at Gladstone while at Mt Isa, Wicked Wiki defeated gun bush galloper Tango Rain.