“She gave her all” was the theme expressed by connections after Machu Picchu’s close fourth in the recent Battle of the Bush Final.
The $16 chance had led the way to within the shadows of the post at Eagle Farm (see video, below).
In a desperate, late drive, she was nabbed by Hanover Square (Michael Cahill, $17), Deadly Choices (Blake Shinn, $3.30 favourite) and Marksfield (Gary Geran, $14).
Trainer Brian Laherty and his son Darren were justifiably proud of their six-year-old’s determined effort.
Although the main prize of $72,500 proved to be narrowly elusive, $6250 was added to the bay’s kitty.
Hanover Square was a very recent newcomer to Bevan (Billy) Johnson’s Miles based string, but no one would begrudge the horseman his success.
His representatives travel far.
During June, for example, his horses visited the winner’s slots at Tambo, Barcaldine, Gayndah, Murwillumbah, Eagle Farm and Alpha.
With a month to go for this season, Johnson tops the trainers’ table for Queensland country meetings.
His 336 runners have put together a 56-42-48 form line.
The side, with a 16.7 per cent strike rate, has amassed almost $460,000 in prizemoney.
Tanya Parry, the Julia Creek mentor, is in second place with a 366: 44-42-42, 12 per cent, $351,000 record.
Nanango’s Glenn Richardson, with a smaller operation, is currently seventh on the statewide list.
Eagle Farm Race 3 – Battle Of The Bush Final
Hanover Square, trained by Bevan Johnson and ridden by Michael Cahill, came over the top to score the win in the BOTB final at big odds! pic.twitter.com/FLvbRHhkDy
— Sky Racing (@SkyRacingAU) June 22, 2019
Last Saturday’s calendar was unusual: the Caloundra and Gold Coast programs were the only offerings below a line drawn just south of the Tropic of Capricorn.
The other fixtures were at Calliope, Alpha, Mackay, Laura and Mount Isa where a jockey shortage triggered seven extra scratchings.
Only three events were decided at Calliope.
Hannah English was beaten a nose on the Pat Sexton prepared Brutus in the opener.
The Nanango apprentice was second again on Stella’s Dream for Richardson in the third contest.
The meeting was then called off after Gemma Steele came down when pulling up on Party Pardee.
Bystanders have indicated that a massive hole appeared in the middle of the track.
Richardson, English and Hannah Phillips all had assignments in the two cancelled races.