By Ray Hickson
Nothing was going to stop Kosciuszko slot owner Matthew Williams from making his first trip to Randwick to cheer on his selection, Mudgee galloper Sharpe Hussler, on Sydney’s biggest race day.
Not even building a copper mine “in the middle of nowhere’’ some 160km north of Port Augusta.
That’s why the Newcastle local took a couple of weeks to select his runner in the $1.3 million race for country horses – the isolation has limited his access to the internet.
“I’m in the middle of the desert, I hardly get internet and couldn’t research a lot so it took a long time to get it done,’’ Williams said.
“It’s going to cost a bit to get there but I booked everything, I’m going. It’s going to be an amazing trip.’’
Despite the delay in selecting his horse, Williams said one of the big selling points for the Cameron Crockett-trained Sharpe Hussler was the passion of his owners.
Sharpe Hussler runs second in a trial at Scone on September 21
The seven-year-old was a Rosehill winner two starts ago and his ability to sprint off a quick tempo and handle all conditions made him appealing to Williams who won his slot after purchasing just five tickets.
“The people who own him are from the country, that was always in the back of my mind,’’ he said.
“For my $5 ticket if I was only getting the prizemoney for coming 12th it’s been a hell of a journey.
“In the end I looked at his form and talking with Cameron and owner Mark (Sharpe), there is true belief in this horse winning this race.’’
Crockett is likely to scratch Sharpe Hussler from the final race at Randwick this Saturday, where he drew barrier 16, to give himself every chance of producing his best in The Kosciuszko which is run on Everest Day October 13.
He’s looking at a barrier trial at Warwick Farm on Monday week, five days before the feature, as his final piece of work.
“I’d almost given up on the Kosciuszko idea and that’s why we were taking him to this race on Saturday,’’ Crockett said.
“I don’t think it will be wise to travel down, race on Saturday then go back in two weeks.
“He had a trial at Scone the other day to keep him ticking over and he had a bit of blow.
“I like to see that too when they are deep into a prep, if they have a bit of a blow it means there is still improvement in them.’’
Sharpe Hussler has won eight of his 33 starts and is a $15 chance with TAB in The Kosciuszko behind Care To Think ($3.50).
The gelding last raced at Randwick on August 18 and while he only beat one horse home behind Almanzora he was run off his feet early in the 1000m race but still ran 33.15 for his last 600m and 11.44 for his last 200m (Punters Intel) which was second only to the winner.
“The only horse that won all day in the part of the track he was in was Winx,’’ Crockett said.
“There was a smashing head wind up the back and he was running into it, nothing went his way but I think he is right on track now.
“The prizemoney is extraordinary, I know it is a hard race to win but it is country horses and he’s above average for the country.’’