By Tony Megahey
It's been setback after setback with I'm A Cool Kid but trainer Gayna Williams can claim a small victory just by getting him to Royal Randwick on Saturday.
A six-year-old with just three starts, for two wins, against his name tells you he's had problems but Williams, who trains at Mudgee, has persevered because she knows there's above average ability under the hood.
I Am A Cool Kid is one of two runners, the other being Kookabaa, who are potential candidates for the Mudgee Country Championships Qualifier in early March tackling the TAB Highway Handicap (1100m).
Both horses have vastly different career histories.
Kookabaa started racing with Chris Waller in Sydney but has found his feet with Williams and comes off a Muswellbrook win three weeks ago while I Am A Cool Kid is resuming after ongoing setbacks since a Scone win in July.
“(I Am A Cool Kid) has just had serious issues, one after another,'' Williams said.
"He almost died once and when he finally recovered he had a bleeding attack. We wouldn’t be persevering only for the talent he’s shown.''
The gelding made his debut with a win at Bathurst back in November 2016 and didn't reappear until June last year.
I'm A Cool Kid wins a Gunnedah barrier trial on January 15
“He’s never ever been fully wound up, but he’s just so tough and strong. We had him ready to go recently and then he had a colic attack,'' she said.
“It’s been never ending. This is the closest we’ve ever had him to being right, off two nice trials. And then he draws ridiculous.
“That’s racing, he’s not where we’d like him to be fitness wise going into Saturday. But that’s the reality of it all with all the problems he’s had. But he’s got the ability.''
As Williams mentioned I Am A Cool Kid faces the task of jumping from barrier 20, less any scratchings, while Kookabaa has fared much better.
In Saturday’s capacity TAB Highway field, Kookabaa has 57kg and I Am A Cool Kid 56.5kg. They carried 58.5kg and 61kg respectively for last starts wins and I Am A Kool Kid was impressive winning barrier trials earlier this month at Gunnedah and Gilgandra.
In early TAB markets, She’s Spicy is a $3.30 favourite.
“Josh (Adams) is okay from where Kookabaa is drawn but I don’t know what poor Adam (Hyeronimus) is going to do from out there,” she said.
Williams might be seriously outnumbered by TAB Highway heavyweights Danny Williams and Matthew Dunn but she's enjoying a super season from her Mudgee stables, running at an impressive 19.6 per cent winning strike rate.
Danny Williams has accepted with four runners from his Goulburn and Moruya stables while Dunn, typically, has another favourite in She’s Spicy on the strength of a recent Doomben win.
“They’re always hard to beat, I’ve always had a healthy respect for their record in the Highways, but both of mine have always shown talent.” Gayna offers.
For all regional trainers preparations are intense and time is short for the upcoming regional $150,000 Country Championship legs leading into the lucrative final at Royal Randwick.
And of course later in the year the rich The Kosciuszko.
The Central Districts Country Championships Qualifier (1400m) is run at Mudgee on Sunday March 3.