Art By Concorde might contain a nod to the famous aircraft, but owner John Bushell opted for a more sedate mode of transport for his journey home after witnessing his horse win the big-money Battle of the Bush Final last Saturday.
The road trip to deliver Art By Concorde back to his Roma stables was completed in a little over six hours, giving Bushell and trainer Craig Smith plenty of time to ponder where they head next with their speedy 4YO, who cost the pair just $20,000 at the 2020 Magic Millions Gold Coast March Yearling Sale.
The plan is to throw in a nomination for the Rockhampton Newmarket (1300m) next Friday, which would involve another 12-hour round trip from Roma. But given he has long since retired, Bushell is very happy to spend his days traversing the state to see his horses race, especially one as good as Art By Concorde.
“I’m getting on a bit now so I don’t get carried away too much, but Saturday was pretty good,” said the 79-year-old.
“I’ve had a fair few slow horses in my time, so you’ve got to enjoy it when a fast one comes along. We had a great day out at Eagle Farm and I was very happy for Craig (Smith), because he’s a terrific bloke and a very good trainer.
“We didn’t pay much for the horse and he didn’t show us too much in his first two starts, so we weren’t even sure we were going to get our money back! He was probably still a bit immature, but then he won three in a row and at that point we thought we might have a half-decent horse on our hands.”
Bushell would have to wait another nine months for Art By Concorde’s next win, and after a summer spell he would begin a campaign which culminated in his stirring victory in the $200,000 finale to the Battle of the Bush series.
Smith revealed that he had barely slept in the build-up to the race after drawing the widest gate, but jockey Kyle Wilson-Taylor had ice in his veins as he plotted a path through the field on Art By Concorde, who sprouted wings to zoom past the long-time leader and race favourite Isis Carmella.
The devastating win netted a cool $146,000 (including QTIS bonus) for his connections, with Connell planning to reinvest some of it on his next yearling purchases.
“I might have to go an extra bid or two at the sales, because I can’t take the money with me,” he quipped.