Keith Carmody has been in the racing game for nearly 50 years but he’s hoping Saturday brings his biggest thrill.
His five-year-old gelding Don’t Give A Damn will contest the $1.3 million Kosciuszko in front of a bumper crowd in a curtain-raiser to The Everest at Royal Randwick.
It’s been a “full on” experience for owner Carmody since the announcement of the inaugural race by Racing NSW earlier this year.
Lucky punters who purchased five dollar tickets to enter the sweepstakes got a slot to negotiate with owners of country horses to run in the Kosciuszko.
After negotiating with several slot owners Carmody settled with a punter who owns a property near The Rock near Wagga.
“We came to an agreement and have become pretty good mates since then,” Carmody said.
“I was talking to him yesterday giving him an update on the horse. We haven’t actually met.
“It was pretty full on there for a few days I had a number of people ringing me up trying to do deals. It was just a matter of what they thought their percentage should be and what I thought their percentage should be.”
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Don’t Give A Damn is a third-generation horse out of Young, bred locally at Bowness Stud and is trained by Danny Williams at Goulburn.
Carmody said Williams told him on Sunday that the horse was in the best condition he’d seen for the 1200m race.
DON'T GIVE A DAMN jump out this morning @goulburnraces settled back second last early before cutting the corner and going on to win jump out easily from the fast finishing HIGHWAY SIXTYSIX. Lovely work from him this morning #TheKosciuszko in 2 weeks @racing_nsw@AndrewBensleypic.twitter.com/Ae4Qi78IwC— Danny Williams (@GoulburnTrainer) September 28, 2018
“I think I’ve seen just about every start he's had. First start was at Goulburn which he won and then he ran second at Sydney. Then he’s run a number of times at Sydney tracks, Rosehill and Randwick, he won a heat of the Country Championships at Muswellbrook and came second in the Championships Final and he wasn’t fully fit than, he had some issues with his feet,” Carmody said.
“He hasn’t raced for four weeks. He is fresh but seeing his best distance is 1400m and beyond we had to keep him fresh for the race. He’s won on soft going and trialed really well on rain affected ground on the weekend. Rain should suit him because the race won’t be such a sprint.
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“We’re quietly confident but not overly confident, but confident he’ll run a good race.”
A big contingent of people from the Cherry Capital will make their way to Royal Randwick including many of Carmody’s family and friends. And while there’s “bound to be butterflies”, he’s trying to keep his emotions and “everything under control”.
“I think there’ll be a huge crowd there,” Carmody said.
“There’s a lot of local input in the horse. The sire, Bon Hoffa, stands at the stud here. If he wins it would be great for me and great for the town. He’ll be in the race it just depends how good the opposition are.”
Don’t Give A Damn is a $7 hope with Kerrin McEvoy to ride.