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Fire King heads back to the city

Tue 11 June 2024

By Glenn Davis

The big dance for country sprinters in the Battle Of The Bush Final is only a few weeks away and trainer Olivia Cairns has her fingers crossed for a historic third win with Fire King.

Fire King tackles the Open Handicap at Doomben on Wednesday but the five-year-old is only a borderline chance of making the $200,000 Final at Eagle Farm on June 29.

"He hasn't qualified for the Battle Of The Bush because he hasn't won a qualifier yet," Cairns said.

"We considered sending him up north for another qualifying race before deciding to stay here.

"There's still a chance he can still make the Final, but we need something from one of the regions not to accept so he can get in.

"If he doesn't get it, he's run in enough country races to get into the Country Cups Challenge Final later on."

Fire King won the Country Cups Challenge Final last year to give Cairns her first win in the race.

Cairns revealed she has chalked up more than 2,000 kilometres in the past three weeks to try to qualify Fire King for the Battle Of The Bush Final.

"He's been to Burrandowan, Jandowae and Esk just for his last three starts," she said.

Cairns is chasing her third Battle Of The Bush after Mason’s Chance claimed the inaugural race in 2018 and Ammoudi Bay in 2022.

Cairns trained at Mackay and is now firmly established at Beaudesert with a team of 28 horses in work.

Fire King is coming off a last start sixth in a 1200 metre Open Handicap at Esk when he went down by two lengths.

"It was his third run in as many weeks and it was too much for him with the weights he's had to carry," she said.

"He ran second in a qualifying race at Burrandowan the previous start and should have easily won that day.

"I don't think he's a city horse but this race on Wednesday is only a mid-week so hopefully he'll go well."

Fire King, who was scratched from the Benchmark 70 event, drew barrier 10 and will be ridden by Justin Stanley, who had a long and successful association with Cairns when she trained at Mackay.