Tony Sergi couldn't fault the preparation of his stable star Island Bay Boy as the Queanbeyan trainer readies himself and his four-year-old for Saturday's $1.3m The Kosciuszko at Royal Randwick.
"I've got him going as good as I can have him for Saturday," Sergi said. "It's all up to him now."
The All Too Hard gelding was deemed an interesting selection by many racing pundits for the rich country feature race, winning four times from eight career starts and most recently registering a dominant victory in a 1200m Benchmark 75 Handicap at Queanbeyan on August 24.
Following his eye-catching win, Island Bay Boy hasn't raced in the lead-up to The Kosciuszko, with Sergi instead choosing to freshen his gelding before entering him in trials at Queanbeyan and Goulburn.
With Richard Bensley in the saddle in both trials, Island Bay Boy was a strong winner over the 900m at Queanbeyan on September 28 before being ridden under a good hold and finishing a close second to Tejori over the 800m at Goulburn on Saturday.
"His trial at Goulburn was nice. He wasn't fully extended but it's what he needed," Sergi said. "Tejori is a good horse, and she was probably under a hold too. It was a good hit out."
Sergi admitted it was a balancing act to have Island Bay Boy ready and raring for his Royal Randwick assault, but he believes he has made all the right calls leading into Saturday's race.
"We didn't want to go into The Kosciuszko too fresh. He got into the race early, which was good, but it was long time before the race, so we needed to find that balance," Sergi said. "We had to do things a bit different, but I'm pretty certain I've done it right.
"He pulled up well after the trial, he is eating well and at this stage, everything seems good, and he is ready for Saturday."
Jason Collett has been booked for the ride, and Sergi is praying for an inside draw when the barriers are announced on Wednesday.
"We've got Jason Collett. He knows the horse after he rode him at Kembla," Sergi said. "We just need a gate now. We don't want to be drawn outside. He races three or four lengths off them normally, but if we draw too wide, he might get too far back."
As it stands, Island Bay Boy is considered a $21 chance in The Kosciuszko, with the likes of Handle The Truth ($4.50) for Keith Dryden, Edit ($5) for Cody Morgan and Front Page ($7) for Geoff Duryea the top three in the market.
Just four sleeps for the connections of Island Bay Boy until the $1.3m The Kosciuszko at Royal Randwick