A glut of nominations for the second leg of the Betfair King of the Bush series at Bairnsdale last Sunday forced another race division, as was the case for the competition opener at Swan Hill.
And just as was the case at Swan Hill, regional trainers got one over their more celebrated city counterparts like Mick Price and Peter Moody.
Enver Jusofovic and Carlee Knight collected the maximum points in each of the Bairnsdale heats last Sunday with Panetimos and Our Henry, respectively.
Betfair spokesman Jake Norton said another enforced race split was a clear indication country trainers were relishing the rare chance to vie for such a significant reward. “The indication from every trainer we’ve had contact with is that no punches will be pulled in this competition,” Norton said. “The response has been overwhelming right across Victoria.”
Swan Hill trainer Con Kelly still leads in the race to the $25,000 first prize on 14 points, four clear of Jusofovic, Knight and Terry & Karina O’Sullivan.
Kelly has upped the ante on his rivals by promising to take horses across the State to chase the King of the Bush crown. “I’ve nominated horses for Kilmore (this weekend) and certainly will for Mildura on (Melbourne) Cup day,” declared Kelly. “I reckon I’ll need to pinch a bit of a break this weekend in order to hang on, though!”
The next leg of the Betfair King of the Bush will be run at Kilmore this Sunday (October 11). The overall winner will be crowned at a presentation at Betfair Dunkeld races on November 14.