Kelly gang King of the Bush

“Tell everyone ‘it’s a long, long way to Echuca, a long, long way to Mildura, and a long, long way to Wangaratta,” Betfair King of the Bush leader Con Kelly said tongue-in-cheek on Thursday.

Kelly heads the King of the Bush table on 17 points and the meetings at Mildura, Echuca and Wangaratta on Melbourne Cup day will decide the winner.

Swan Hill based Kelly would not be travelling that far without winning chances in the float.  And, just to make it more interesting, there are six trainers breathing down his neck in advance of the competition’s final three legs.

Betfair’s Jake Norton said that while Kelly held the upper hand in the contest, many rival trainers had nominated horses for each of the remaining legs.  “With three heats to be run on the final day, 75 points remain up for grabs.  It’s by no means a fait accompli.”

“Theoretically, any trainer from any part of the State can still collect sufficient points to win.  There’s a certain race on Tuesday that will stop the nation, but there are a couple of others that will be heart-stopping for trainers around Victoria.”

The fourth and fifth legs were held last Sunday at Sale and Warrnambool (transferred Terang meeting) and regional trainers like Shane Stockdale and Damien Hunter one-upped their more celebrated counterparts like Peter Snowden.  They both collected maximum points.

Stockdale in particular was thrilled with the result and is now chasing the $25,000 bonus.  “It’s a great initiative by Betfair to put up the bonus for the Series winner,” he said.   “At first, I just entered the horse at Sale because it was a nice fit.  But with the bonus on offer I might have to alter his program and chase another leg with him.”

Further information about the Betfair King of the Bush – including news, schedules, results, standings and information for trainers – can be found at  The overall winner will be crowned at a presentation at Betfair Dunkeld races on November 14 2009.