In running a very good second in the Goulburn heat of the Country Championship this afternoon, Just A Blur now qualifies for the Final to be run at Royal Randwick on Saturday 4 April.The heat was won by the Nick Olive trained Without A Shadow which defeated Just A Blur by three quarters of a length with Wings a further head away third. First and second qualify for the final and it was appropriate that both horses are trained in Canberra by Nick and JJR. Initially, Canberra trained horses were excluded from competing in the NSW Country Championship but Nick Olive and Paul Jones were resolute in their efforts to get the decision overturned. With the support of the Canberra Racing Club, they were eventually successful and Racing NSW finally accepted that Canberra forms an essential cog in the NSW country racing wheel.Both Just A Blur and Without A Shadow are 4YO mares and have spent much of their careers racing against one another. They both had had their initial barrier trial at Canberra in January 2013 with Just A Blur winning and Just A Shadow running second. Last Season they met four time with Just A Blur finishing just ahead of Without A Shadow each time . However, this season Just A Shadow has had the advantage in the National Sprint on Black Opal day and now in today’s Country Championship qualifier. Both horses will line up in a field of 16 in the Final on 4 April and will renew their rivalry. Sixteen sets of country owners and their trainers will be hoping to claim the Championship but JJR can be a little biased and hope that Barbara, Paul and the great group of Just A Blur owners come out on top.

Hoofnote: Nick Olive and a number of the owners in Without A Shadow have Single Gaze in the Golden Slipper at Rosehill tomorrow. On behalf of JJR and all of the Canberra racing community, we wish Nick, the owners and Kathy O’Hara all the best and hope they can bring the Slipper down to the Nation’s Capital.

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