By Ray Hickson
When The Kosciuszko was first run, Noble Boy was still unraced and unaware he was about to change the life of his trainer Todd Blowes.
Next month the Country Championships hero could change the life of Wagga hospital worker Mark McKenzie after he used his winning ticket to give the Queanbeyan galloper a start in the $1.3m feature at Royal Randwick.
Blowes has been through the pressure of setting Noble Boy for a $500,000 race so knows what to expect as he prepares the $4.60 TAB second favourite for a shot at a first prize of $685,000.
In nine starts, for seven wins, Noble Boy has already earned just over $550,000.
“It’s unbelievable to have a country horse that’s had nine starts and only raced out of his grade those two times in Queensland and earned that sort of money,’’ he said.
“It shows how good Racing NSW is going with the country racing.
“Everything you put down in front of him he gives his all, in my mind it’s only hard tracks that have bought him down in his two defeats.
“I’ll just concentrate on the horse, I won’t worry too much about what’s going on. We’re locked in now so it is full steam ahead.’’
Noble Boy runs third in a trial at Canberra on September 6
For McKenzie it's now a nervous and exciting wait until October 19 when Noble Boy tackles the race first-up.
The 56-year-old once owned a motel in Wagga for around 18 years and said he has dabbled in owning racehorses in the past but nothing to the scale he'll experience at Randwick.
He said Noble Boy came onto his radar for a couple of reasons, including his place in the market and because he backed the horse in one of his two defeats at $1.80.
And, after one of his “anywhere between 30 and 50 tickets’’ was drawn, he’s now been a winner twice over as far as The Kosciuszko is concerned.
“They all laughed at me last year but I backed Belflyer at fixed odds at a ridiculous price with a week to go,’’ McKenzie said.
“I had a talk to a couple of blokes who were lucky enough to draw a slot last year in Wagga and their big pitch was going to be for Noble Boy. So I kind of stole their horse.
“It would be life changing if he won but win or lose it'll be a good day.’’
Under the conditions of The Kosciuszko as a slot winner he’s entitled to 40 per cent of the prizemoney earned.
Blowes said Noble Boy’s preparation for the Kosciuszko got off to a perfect start when he ran third in a trial at Canberra last week.
He’ll step out again on September 27 at Randwick where Blowes hopes Hugh Bowman will be available to renew acquaintances with the five-year-old.
“We’ll start to tighten the screws on him now and really wind him up for the day,’’ he said.
“That first trial was more of a day out to get the juices flowing again.’’