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Two bush bolters retain bush hoops for big Final - what a fairytale

Ric Chapman in Interviews 1 Apr 2016
  • There will be tears of joy if either of these bush hoops salute
Kayla Nisbet and trainer Brett Cavanagh after Steakandbearnaise won the Wagga heat.

Some of the connections, oh let's call it how it is, MOST of the owners of the bush horses to qualify for the $400,000 Country Championships Final on Saturday at Randwick, have abandoned the country riders.

They have booked, and there is something to appreciate and understand about this, the best riders in Australia for their hopes.

After all, these horses probably will never compete for that sort of money ever again, so while it sounds unfair and's understandable.

So the likes of Bowman, Oliver, McDonald, Shinn, Berry, O'Hara and Purton have mounts on horses they know nothing about.

But not all owners went that way.

Nope, a couple of bushies have stuck solid and given country apprentice Kayla Nisbet and battler Aaron Bullock, their first ever time in the sun.

Nisbet will ride STEAKANDBEARNAISE ($61 Ladbrokes), who stormed down the outside to win the Wagga heat of the Championships over 1400m and Nisbet was on board that day too.

The timing of her run was sublime. And although Steakandbearnaise is one of the outsiders on Saturday, Nisbet doesn't care.

"Just so happy to be at Randwick with a ride in this race," she said. "It's very exciting for me."

It's almost unimaginable that last Saturday, while Bowman, O'Hara and co were winning Group 1 races, Nisbet was riding in races worth just $8000 at Moruya.

And to prepare even more so - she didn't ride anything during the week, al all!

"I was serving a suspension," she said. "It ends on Saturday so I'm free to ride at Randwick."

As for Bullock, wow, what a transformation. What a story. 

He gave away the sport to work on making highways because his weight just got too hard to maintain.

And in fact he will drive over the very highway he helped make as he heads down to Randwick.

For three years he was absent from the saddle but the lure of racing and the raising of the limit weights, called him back.

And what a fairytale if he could, in his first season back, land the big end of the prize on Saturday.

He rides the Dubbo heat winner SOMETHING BORROWED ($101 williamhill).

“I am so happy to be riding in this race and this opportunity makes the hard work worthwhile. It beats concreting on the Hunter Expressway, but that was another phase of my life and I enjoyed it at the time," he said.

“I rode two of the Country Championship Qualifier winners, Pera Pera and Something Borrowed, and obviously Pera Pera would be the best ride of the two on Saturday."

But he wasn't offered that mount. 

 That big fella is trained by Mack Griffith for owners who use Hugh Bowman a lot. So the champion rider has the mount on Pera Pera in the Country Champs Final.

“Look I'm in the race and I'm thankful of that. I get to ride on the big stage and that to me is exciting. Something Borrowed is a roughie, but you never know," reasoned Bullock.

"I knocked back a full book at Taree on Saturday to ride at Randwick. 

"And I'm on a strict diet this week as I normally ride at 56 kilograms, but I have to get down to 54 kilograms on Saturday."

Something Borrowed is trained by former jockey Justin Stanley at Dubbo while Brett Cavanagh at Albury trains Steakandbearnaise.

With the favourite CLEARLY INNOCENT coming to the races under an injury cloud, who knows what may happen.

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Two bush bolters retain bush hoops for big Final - what a fairytale

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