Wagga trainer Gary Colvin is eyeing the $1 million Golden Gift with Eastern Wind after an encouraging debut at Randwick on Saturday.
Eastern Wind ran fifth, beaten three lengths, in the Victory Vein Stakes (1000m) on Everest Day at Randwick last Saturday.
The two-year-old was slow away and then boxed on tenaciously to finish a gallant fifth behind Time Is Precious.
Eastern Wind pulled up well from the Sydney experience and Colvin will now push on with him towards the inaugural Golden Gift (1100m) at Rosehill on Saturday, November 9.
"He went really good, we were rapt," Colvin said.
"He went there only having a jump out and a soft trial. He's got ability, we know he's got ability and the only reason we went up there was because we knew he would handle it. Nothing fazes him."
The field for the Golden Gift is determined on prizemoney won. Eastern Wind picked up $5000 for his fifth placing on Saturday.
"We'll see what happens. If we make it in then we'll have a crack at it," Colvin said.
"He should definitely improve on that run."
Colvin will turn Eastern Wind out after the Golden Gift run, should he make the field. He hopes the two-year-old could measure up to a race like the Black Opal in March for owner Nelson Wu.
Wagga punter Mark McKenzie loved every minute of his Kosciuszko experience on Saturday.
McKenzie was one of 14 lucky punters to draw a slot in the $1.3 million feature sprint at Randwick on Everest Day.
McKenzie was represented by Queanbeyan sprinter Noble Boy in the race and pocketed just over $21,000 after the five-year-old finished fourth, beaten just over a length by the Keith Dryden-trained Handle The Truth
Regardless of the result, McKenzie could not speak highly enough of the Kosciuszko experience.
"In a word, it was huge," McKenzie said.
"It was a fantastic day.
"The boys from last year all talked it up about how good it was and it lived up to every expectation.
"Racing NSW, they were fantastic and looked after us out of this world.
"The bit of prizemoney you get, it was secondary to the whole experience."
McKenzie, who only purchased about $150 worth of tickets, encouraged others to try and secure a slot next year.
"It only costs you $5 and yes it's a lottery but it's not just monetery, it's the whole experience," he said.
"For country racing, there is nowhere in the world with a race like that. Peter V'Landys is a genius, really."
McKenzie wanted to thank Queanbeyan trainer Todd Blowes and the owners of Noble Boy for taking him on board for the race.
Kosciuszko winner Handle The Truth won his maiden at Wagga in February last year.
Melbourne Cup day in the Southern District has gone from a feast to a famine.
This year there won't be a meeting in the region on Melbourne Cup day.
It wasn't that long ago when we were overloaded with racing on the day, forcing some clubs to abandon the day due to a shortage of jockeys and horses.
Albury has been the sole racing venue for the past couple of years but it will shut down for six weeks after this Saturday's meeting for much-needed drainage work.
Albury's traditional Oaks Day race meeting on the Thursday is also off the cards.
A trip to Geelong almost paid a big dividend for the connections of Nicconi Poni on Wednesday.
Albury trainer Mitch Beer pinpointed the listed fillies and mares race over 1200m on Geelong Cup day for Nicconi Poni in a bid to get her some black type.
After looking a big chance turning for home, the half sister to group one winner Sirmione ran a gallant fourth.
Albury trainer Ron Stubbs will have a crack at a Highway Handicap with Lost Command at Randwick on Saturday.
Jay Ford will take the ride on Lost Command in the $75,000 TAB Highway Class Three Handicap (1800m).
Saturday: Albury (TAB), Harden (non-TAB)
Saturday: Wagga (TAB)
Tuesday: Young (TAB)
Saturday: Young (non-TAB)