Astute young country trainer Cameron Crockett has pulled off a masterstroke with Sharpe Hussler's win at Rosehill, which has put the gelding in the frame for the $1.3 million Kosciuszko.
And for good measure the six-year-old was also the medium of a successful betting plunge from $51 to $16 in Saturday's 1100m Benchmark 79 sprint.
Sharpe Hussler dominated the finish when he came out of the pack to overhaul $2.70 favourite Condor Heroes and stretch out to a 1-1/2 length win.
Crockett, who is based at Mudgee, says Sharpe Hussler is hard to place in the bush so he took the gamble to bring him to town and stake a claim for The Kosciuszko (1200m) for country-trained horses on the undercard for the $13 million Everest on October 13.
"I can't place him in the bush because his benchmark is too high and he gets too much weight," Crockett said.
"We were intending to take him to Grafton earlier this month but he had a setback so we held off.
"This is the right race to show his ability and maybe get into the Kosciuszko.
"With all due respect to the horses in the Highway Handicaps, they are for class one and two horses and imagine what he would do to those.
"It's given people something to think about regarding the Kosciuszko."
The field for the race will be decided by sweepstake with $5 tickets on sale at AHA hotels throughout NSW.
Twelve tickets will be drawn in early September, with the winners to negotiate with connections for a slot in the race.
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