COROWA trainer Geoff Duryea now not only has one Kosciuszko contender but two after the impressive win of Front Page at Albury on Monday.
Duryea concedes 'everything is an option' for both News Girl and little brother, Front Page, as the countdown to the million dollar sprint for country NSW gallopers begins.
TAB released their opening market for the Kosciuszko last week with no Southern District gallopers included.
Three horses have since been included, and two are those are from the Duryea yard.
News Girl has been installed on the third line of betting at $11, while Front Page was $51 into $26 on the strength of Monday's win.
Albury sprinter Lord Von Costa also looms as a contender and has been included as a $26 chance.
Duryea is happy to have both his horses in the Kosciuszko conversation and revealed it is a legitimate option for the pair at this early stage.
"It's a really good option for both of them, things have just got to fall into place and it's still three or four months away," Duryea said.
"A lot of the water under the bridge between now and then.
"Everything's an option. The Kosciuszko is a real good option, it's just a matter of how things pan out.
"He's got to learn how to handle the pressure of city racing."
Front Page won a Class Two Handicap (1175m) at Albury on Monday by nine and a half lengths in class record time.
It took his record to two wins and a second from four starts.
Duryea revealed that Front Page will now either head to Flemington on Saturday week, for the $108,000 3YO Handicap (1400m) or Wagga the day before for the Class Two Handicap (1200m).
News Girl, meantime, has drawn barrier 10 of 11 in Saturday's $100,000 Open Handicap (1100m) at Caulfield.
Lewis German's three kilogram claim means the mare will carry just 54kg.
"She's 100 per cent," Duryea said.
"She's drawn a bit wide, which is disappointing, but these city tracks, if you want to get out off the fence, we're laughing, but if you want to be hard up against the rail then we're in trouble."
ALBURY trainer Donna Scott is eyeing off a trip to Sydney with Lord Von Costa in a bid to boost his Kosciuszko campaign.
Lord Von Costa resumed from a spell at Flemington last Saturday when finishing seventh, beaten two and three quarters of a length, by Great Again on an unsuitable heavy track.
Scott is now keen to take Lord Von Costa to Sydney to boost his profile ahead of a potential tilt at the Kosciuszko.
"He pulled up enormous," Scott told Sky Racing this week.
"I'd love to get to NSW, to Randwick, to help us with the Kosciuszko campaign but if there's not much there then we'll go back to Victoria."
THE sky is the limit for apprentice jockey Tyler Schiller.
The Jerilderie-based apprentice rode his 80th career winner at Canberra last Friday and in the process, outrode his country claim.
It was a brilliant effort from the 21-year-old, who has only had his first race ride on April 6 last year.
Nick Souquet set a record back in the early 90s when it only took him about 300 rides and 12 months to outride his country claim.
While the number of wins has since increased from 60 to 80, Schiller managed to do it in just over 13 months after about 550 rides.
"I only had to ride 60 winners then, it took me about 300 odd rides to do it. At that time it was a record," Souquet recalled.
"(Tyler has) impressed me. He's been modelling himself on Blaike McDougall and he's really neatened himself up."
Schiller will look to explore more opportunities in Victoria, where he can claim three kilograms at provincial meetings, once the border reopens.
GUNDAGAI trainer David Blundell narrowly missed out on city success at Canterbury on Wednesday.
Thistledo ($21) was beaten by a short head in the Benchmark 70 Handicap (1250m), with Jean Van Overmeire in the saddle.
ALBURY trainer Mitch Beer captured another country feature race last Saturday.
The Beer-trained Branders Rule won the $25,200 Jack Maher Classic (1200m) at Wodonga on debut.
A half brother to SDRA Country Championships Qualifier winner Sky Call, Branders Rule ($16) upstaged his more fancied opponents in the six-horse field to claim victory.
Owned by Steve Watkins, Branders Rule has been sent straight to the paddock with the spring in mind.
WAGGA jockey Nick Heywood continues to gain momentum in his comeback to riding.
Heywood enjoyed feature race success on Sunday when he took out the $40,500 Nowra Cup (1600m) on the Keith Dryden-trained Balansa ($31).
It followed on from a win for his old bosses, Peter and Paul Snowden, at Hawkesbury last Thursday.
Heywood has now ridden four winners in the past three weeks as he begins to make inroads on the comeback trail.
THE connections of Man Of Peace enjoyed another highlight at Randwick on Saturday.
Man Of Peace continues to thrive for Canberra trainer Matt Dale and took out his third Saturday metropolitan race last weekend.
He had to survive a protest to do so, but claimed the $100,000 Open Handicap (1400m) on a favourable heavy track after being backed in from $31 to start at $9.50.
The son of Zariz has now won 11 races and earned $400,000 for connections, which include Bern Milne, Mick Mullins, Cath Heywood and Ray and Therese Burt.
YOUNG breeder-owner Craig Hardy had good reason to celebrate on Saturday when High Opinion saluted.
High Opinion ($8.00) backed up his impressive Wagga Gold Cup run with victory in the $100,000 Benchmark 78 Handicap (2000m) at Randwick.
It was High Opinion's first win for 839 days after a couple of lengthy lay-offs due to injury.
Saturday: Wagga Riverside (TAB)
Friday: Wagga (TAB)
Tuesday: Wagga (TAB)
Sunday: Wagga (TAB)