Michael Costa often spends Saturdays listening to major races on the radio while cleaning out boxes at his Warwick Farm stables.
The 28-year-old trainer will be in the thick of the action on Saturday when Manaya lines up in the Group Two Silver Shadow Stakes at Randwick.
Costa is approaching the race with hope rather than expectation after an interrupted lead-up.
"I would have thought leading up to a Group race I would have been a bit nervous but the preparation hasn't been smooth sailing," Costa said.
"We only had eight weeks from the paddock to this Saturday and we lost five days with a small viral infection early on in the prep."
Manaya's scintillating debut in the Listed Woodlands Stakes at Scone in May gave Costa his first stakes win.
What a performance!— Sky Racing (@SkyRacingAU) May 14, 2016
MANAYA backs up her trial form with an impressive debut win in the Woodlands Stakes at Scone!https://t.co/Uqxu1b0lz6
He says the three-year-old filly is still immature but he remains confident she is a Group horse.
Glyn Schofield, who will take the Silver Shadow mount, rode Manaya in her latest trial and was delighted with her turn of foot.
"I've never had a jockey be so positive after getting off in a trial before," Costa said.
Manaya is the $3.80 Silver Shadow second favourite behind the Chris Waller-trained Omei Sword at $2.90 in early markets.
Costa is elated just to be on the big stage, let alone with a live chance.
"There's so many Saturdays when you're at the stable and you're listening to the radio or watching the races on your phone while you're doing boxes so it's good to be amongst it," he said.
Costa started riding trackwork for leading Sydney trainers as a 16-year-old.
He spent four years working as a stipendiary steward before joining Kevin Moses' stable as foreman and then went it alone.
"I went out and bought one tried horse for $4000 and for my first season pretty much had one horse," Costa said.
He slept in his car during his first season as a trainer while running his business on a shoestring budget.
After slowly building momentum, Costa now has about 30 horses in work as he embarks on the biggest race of his career.
"It's going to be a new experience but something that's very welcome," Costa said.
"I've worked very hard so I'm going to enjoy every minute of it."
Costa has the Group Two Furious Stakes on September 3 and Tea Rose Stakes on September 17 in mind if Manaya can measure up on Saturday.
Listed - East Cape Guineas
G3 - Kings Cup
G2 - Resource Recycling Superstars Championship
G3 - Lamb & Hayward 4&5yo Trotting Championship
G2 - Storer Motors Nz Trotting Oaks