When it comes to Toowoomba racing, Michael Nolan has done it all.
But on New Year’s Eve the long-time Clifford Park trainer has the chance to enter a world of his own when he looks to help lift the inaugural King Of The Mountain trophy.
Michael has won 10 premierships, a Weetwood Handicap, Toowoomba Cups and Two-Year-Old features on his home track during a decorated career and will chase another slice of Clifford Park history when he saddles two chances in the $750,000 Mort & Co King Of The Mountain.
Kisukano and Northern Express will carry the hopes of Michael and their band of owners in the unique 1200-metre sprint.
Kisukano lines up for slot holder Adam Kennelly while Northern Express represents his Lyndhurst Stud/Harvey Black slot owners.
“It’s real exciting,” Michael said after learning of his dual King Of The Mountain representation.
“When I first heard about this concept it was always something I wanted to be a part of.
“It was probably getting away from us when Kisukano wasn’t in the best form of her career and we didn’t really think anyone would pick her up.
“Now, to have two runners in it, yeah, it’s really exciting for me and the stable.”
Kisukano is bidding to reach her own milestone in The King Of The Mountain dash.
If she can claim a first, second or third place finish in the race she will join the likes of the Nolan-trained Laurie’s Lottery, Gold Edition and Regimental Gal as the latest Toowoomba-trained horse to pass the $1 million prize money mark.
Michael is hoping the five-year-old can now recapture some of her exciting juvenile form which swept her to victory in races like the Gold Coast Jewel.
“We didn’t expect her to get in,” Michael conceded.
“But then I got a text last week about whether she’d still be available.
“We were only ever going to go in the (King Of The Mountain) consolation race on the night.
“To get her in the main race now and be part of this, especially the first running of it, is exciting for me and it’s exciting for the owners.
“They’re from Stanthorpe which is sort of local.
“She’s also Stanthorpe bred and it would be a dream come true to get her to win a race like this.
“There’s nothing wrong with her physically.
“She’s just not measuring up in Brisbane, but we just thought back up here – who knows.
“On Toowoomba home turf again, she might find her best. And if she does find her best, she’s right in a race like this.”
Kisukano will be ridden by Boris Thornton.
Northern Express has built a healthy strike rate with five wins from 12 starts and leading Brisbane apprentice Jayden Lloyd retains the King Of The Mountain ride.
“He’s a good little horse,” Michael said.
“He’s only three and is probably going to give away a bit of class to some of these horses.
“But I always say, in Toowoomba, back on your own track over 1200 metres you never know.
“Some of the Brisbane horses have got to travel up here and do it.
“We’re trained here, we’re sort of used to it and he’s won on the track.
“If he draws a decent alley, (I think) he’s a live chance.
“1200 is probably his pet journey.”