‘He nearly died’: Trainer fights back tears after Highway win

It was a bloody miracle bush galloper I Am A Cool Kid was even at Randwick.

The lightly raced six-year-old led all the way for a powerhouse victory in the TAB Highway Handicap (1100m).

Cool ride: I Am A Cool Kid wins nicely for Adam Hyeronimus in the Highway Handicap.Credit:AAP

Mudgee trainer Gayna Williams was overcome with emotion and fought back tears behind her black sunglasses before explaining why she was so moved.

"It's been a long road,'' she said.

Long road: Gayna Williams in the mounting yard after I Am A Cool Kid’s win.Credit:AAP

"We've persevered because he's been so talented, and it's a huge relief to have him here.

"We bought him as a yearling, he was immature for a long time, he had his first start and won and then we spelled him.

"He came back in his next prep and was favourite for a Highway race at Hawkesbury, but two days beforehand he was rushed to Scone Hospital with colitis. He nearly died. He spent two weeks in the ICU and was lucky to survive.

"He spent another six months in the paddock, came back and won a race at Scone and then bled.

"This is his next preparation. He's spent more of his life in the paddock than on the actual racetrack.

"It is a miracle he is here. That's why everyone is so emotional.''

I Am A Cool Kid has now won three of his well-spaced career runs.

It was one of the very rare occasions we were happy for a trainer to trot out the cliche ''we'll take it day by day'' when it came to I Am A Cool Kid's next start.

Nod and a Winx

First the Indians defeated our Aussies in the Test cricket – now they're pinching the names of our champion racehorses.

As the owners of wonder mare Winx lapped it up at the World's Best Horse awards in London, another horse by the same name was continuing it's crummy record in Bangalore.

Yes, India's very own Winx made it 0-13 when finishing down the track.

You have to wonder just how on earth the horse's listed owner  Mr. Gautam Makhija  was allowed to get the name passed by the relevant authorities.

Chief steward Marc Van Gestel told us at Randwick that the International Federation of Horse Racing Authorities have an agreement in place where well-credentialled horses have their names protected. Winx is one of those horses. India is one of the federation's signatories.

As for Winx – our Winx, not India's – she will trial Tuesday at Rosehill in preparation for her much-hyped comeback on February 16 in the Apollo Stakes.

What's in a name

The Australian Turf Club are always thinking outside the box. Like running the Australia Day Cup … on Monday.

Book him

The great Patty Webster, the man who trains crowd favourite Happy Clapper, is having his biography written.

True story: Pat Webster with old mate Happy Clapper.Credit:James Brickwood

Webster is working with Allan Whittaker, who has written several books, including one on murdered Sydney nurse Anita Cobby.

As a kid, Webster used to feature in Jimmy Sharman's Boxing Tent, and more recently started working with jockeys struggling with drugs and alcohol.

Happy Clapper will kick off against the great Winx in the Apollo Stakes.

She said yes

Married life has not changed   jockey Brenton Avdulla.

"I still do what I want, when I want, I just now have to ask for her permission,'' said Avdulla, who married Taylor Paine, the eldest daughter of former top jockey Neil Paine, in November.

Matt finish

Pre-trainer and trainer Matt Williams is being hailed as one of the big reasons Tom Melbourne broke his three-year drought.

Chris Waller's horses are all pre-trained in NSW, but the stable decided to mix things up and keep Tom down south after his last campaign.

Williams put the horse over the sand dunes around Warrnambool and the old fella seems to have thrived.

 King's long rein

Rachel King expected to lead on Mercurial Lad – but not by a whopping 12 lengths down the back straight of Randwick.

King and the five-year-old chestnut sure gave their rivals something to catch, and survived a few nervous final few strides to grab the cash in the 2000m  staying test. Even if King got dudded, bookies must have been tempted to refund all bets because of her courage.

‘I couldn’t go much slower’: Rachel King returns to scale on Mercurial Lad.Credit:AAP

"I couldn't go much slower. It was his first time over 2000m, he's a strong, free-rolling horse. He was always going to leads by a couple of lengths – but not by that far,'' King said.

"I knew I was a fair way in front because I couldn't hear anyone, but I didn't dare look.''

Trainer Paul Jones happily dared to dream about Mercurial Lad being a possible lightweight hope in a race like a Doncaster, especially in a bog.

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