There will be a Wagga flavour to the second running of the $1.3 million Kosciuszko after local punter Mark McKenzie drew a slot in the feature sprint.
Not only did McKenzie draw a slot but he has secured one of the leading chances for the race in Queanbeyan sprinter Noble Boy.
McKenzie was informed of his win by Racing NSW last Tuesday. He did not watch the draw after forgetting all about it.
But McKenzie was quick into gear after being notified and struck a deal with the connections of Noble Boy by late Tuesday afternoon.
The 57-year-old who works at Wagga Base Hospital was happy to accept the minimum of 40 per cent stake in Noble Boy's prizemoney from the race.
"I thought I'd ring the owners of Noble Boy first and give them first right of refusal," McKenzie recalled.
"I spoke to a couple of owners and then Todd (Blowes).
"I'm not greedy and it cost me bugger all so I told them I'm not into negotiating. I'm happy with (the minimum) 40 per cent if you's are and it was done.
"I'm on a hiding to nothing. My percentage is about $2000 if he runs from 12th to 14th. I've booked my airfares and accommodation to go, I'll have a day out and still finish in front."
McKenzie is quite relaxed about the whole journey so far.
While a down the track finish won't collect him much, a win in the Kosciuszko will see McKenzie pocket close to $250,000.
McKenzie is looking forward to the ride ahead but is not getting carried away.
"Not really, if you get excited now you will wear yourself down by the time it comes around," he said.
"My mates still can't believe I'm so relaxed and blase about it but I've been involved in horses before and there is still a lot of water to go under the bridge yet."
While some syndications and groups spent big on trying to secure a Kosciuszko slot, McKenzie says he spent no more than about $150.
"I started out buying one ticket a day for the first week but I got lazy and would forget," he said.
"Whenever I would have a win or have a spare $5 I would buy another one. I would have ended up with 20 or 30 tickets."
McKenzie had four horses on his wish list. Race favourite Victorem, Noble Boy, Fell Swoop and Bobbing. He had a number for Jenny Graham, trainer of Victorem, but never had to go past his first phone call to the owners of Noble Boy.
Noble Boy won his maiden at Albury last year and claimed this year's Country Championship Final. He has seven wins to his name from nine starts.
The five-year-old will go into the race first-up and had a quiet trial at Canberra this month. He will have a second trial next week ahead of the Kosciuszko on October 19.
McKenzie is going to Queanbeyan next week to visit the horse and connections for the first time.
McKenzie has been in Wagga since 1985 and owned the Burringa Motel for many years. He has raced horses with local trainers Dave Heywood, Trevor Carey and Peter Clancy for varied success.