Swan Hill trainer Con Kelly has made early inroads into capturing the $25,000 first prize in the Betfair King of the Bush series after taking the honours on the competition’s first day at Swan Hill on Sunday.
Such was the response to the initiative from trainers across Victoria, 47 horses were nominated for Sunday’s first leg – the most for any race in the state last weekend.
Betfair PR Manager Jake Norton said that the volume of nominations for the first leg of the series forced it to be divided into two races. “Through sheer weight of numbers the first leg had to be split in two, with points awarded for both races,” Norton said.
“This proved a blessing for local trainers, with ‘King’ Con Kelly – as we’ve named him for now – collecting a very handy 14 points for a win in one heat and third in the other.”
Kelly trained Turn Him Loose into third spot in Race 7 and he prepared Friday’s Child to win Race 8 at Swan Hill.
“It also shows that by increasing participation and enthusiasm in the regional areas as it already has, the King of the Bush is a boon for country racing.”
Competition leader Kelly agreed, suggesting that a reward like the $25,000 Betfair has offered to the King of the Bush winner was extraordinary for country trainers. “It’s fantastic – trainers never have the opportunity to win $25,000 for nothing like this,” he revealed. “When I found out that the race was being split and I had two bites of the cherry, I was over the moon.
“Now I’ll definitely be taking horses to Kilmore on October 11 and Mildura on Melbourne Cup Day to compete again. And when this competition gathers momentum, I won’t be the only one. It’s likely that more races will be split.”
The next leg of the Betfair King of the Bush will be run at Bairnsdale this Sunday (October 4). The overall winner will be crowned at a presentation at Betfair Dunkeld races on November 14 2009.
Further information about the Betfair King of the Bush – including news, schedules, results, standings and information for trainers – can be found at www.kingofthebush.com.au.