TRAINER Brett Cavanough is the toast of Scone after his talented mare It's Me captured the $1.3 million The Kosciuszko at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
In a heart-stopping victory, the unbeaten four-year-old - ridden to perfection by Jason Collett - pipped Redouble (Tommy Berry), third-placed Man Of Peace (Louise Day) and last year's victor Handle The Truth (Nash Rawiller) to snare the $685,000 winner's cheque.
But, the triumph nearly failed to occur, courtesy of a mid-week scare.
It's Me was eventually "passed suitable to race" by stewards following blood tests and an endoscopic examination after mucus was found in a scope on Wednesday.
Cavanough's other galloper, Fender (Kerrin McEvoy), finished a very creditable seventh while Lower Belford's Todd Howlett's Two Big Fari (Grant Buckley) snuck in for fifth.
"It was ugly, wasn't it?" the emotional Upper Hunter mentor said afterwards.
"But, it worked.
"When Jason went into traffic, into a black hole, I thought we're in some trouble here.
"Gee whiz, he did a bit of camp-drafting to get out.
"And, he got the job done."
It's Me, by Shamus Award from It's You, is now four from four; earning more than $800,000 in prizemoney.
"She's a very good mare," Cavanough said.
"It's a bit overwhelming; I don't really know what else to say.
"They're both (It's Me and Fender) pretty special horses.
"There's not much difference between the two of them at home.
"However, on race day, she's just amazing.
"You saw what she did [here] today.
"She was in trouble, but knocked them down, got out and balanced up to prevail.
"I thought one of the older horses would come to the fore.
"And, that was Mitchell Beer's galloper (Redouble).
"He was a tough old horse first up, with good form.
"But, It's Me still got the job done to beat him."