Art Back to Defend Battle of the Bush Crown

Roma’s representation in this month’s rich Ladbrokes Battle Of The Bush Final in Brisbane was bolstered when last year’s winner Art By Concorde qualified for the $200,000 final by winning at Barcaldine. 

Photo : Art By Concorde winning at Barcaldine

Sixteen qualifying races are held across Queensland from the Far West to the Far North, with two qualifiers from each of the state’s eight racing regions making up the field for the 1200 metre final to be held at Eagle Farm on June 29th.

Owned by Roma’s John Bushell and trained by Craig Smith, Art By Concorde won the 2023 edition of the Battle Of The Bush defeating the Rockhampton-trained favourite Isis Carmella and Golden Athena from Mackay. While the Under The Louvre gelding qualified a month out from last year’s Final by winning a qualifier at Cunnamulla, Smith had to roll the dice one more time in the final qualifier at Barcaldine to get Art By Concorde into this year’s final to defend his crown after only running fourth in qualifiers at Cunnamulla and Emerald, but was able to win impressively at Barcaldine when ridden by Paul Hamblin scoring by more than two lengths from The Squire trained at Alpha by Cameron Dixon and David Rewald’s Heyington Station from Blackall.

Photo : Art By Concorde presentation

This year’s Cunnamulla qualifier held on Anzac Day was won by Parko trained by Roma’s Wayne Baker, defeating Kazza’s Jet from Charleville with Miss Hoff from the Roma stable of Rebecca Kerwin filling third place. Parko tuned up nicely for the Battle Of The Bush Final by winning the Santos Injune Cup from Hanover Square and Lip Sip Suk. The other Downs Country Racing qualifier for this year’s series was last month’s Charleville Newmarket, won by the Matt Kropp-trained Laurie from Toowoomba defeating Kazza’s Jet and Wayne Baker’s 2023 Morven Cup winner Unrestricted.

Meantime, anticipation is building for the Roma Turf Club’s annual Rugby Race Day to be held at Bassett Park on June 22nd with a feast of Football, Furlongs, and Fashions.  A 6-race programme racing for $115,000 in prizemoney will be conducted, headlined by the $20,000 Rugby Slipper, now an Open Handicap of 1200 metres. The racing action will be complemented by the Roma Echidnas hosting the Condamine Cods in their Risdon Cup A Grade clash and the GPS 16A’s between Ipswich Grammar and Nudgee. Roma Turf Club co-president Peter Flynn said the club is expecting a bumper crowd with fantastic early-bird ticket sales and plenty of social media interest leading up to the big day. “With national coverage on TAB and Sky Channel, Roma’s Rugby Race Day will be the biggest meeting in Queensland away from the Ipswich Cup and with around 300 Rugby players taking part in the 5 matches on the day followed by the enhanced Fashions On The Field competition and The 78 Sound performing at our After Party until late, it is shaping up to be a great day” he added.

Early Bird tickets are available here.

Photos courtesy of RLR Photography

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