Less than three weeks after undergoing surgery for bowel cancer, horse trainer Michael Pitman has confirmed he will be in Melbourne this weekend to watch his star galloper in the Cox Plate.
Savvy Coup will line up against the world's best horse Winx.
He was a longshot to make the trip but the Cox Plate is now a reality for Michael Pitman and it clearly means a lot.
"Stand in front of the birdcage in front of 38,000 and reminiscence about my career, it's massive to get this far – massive," Pitman told Newshub.
Diagnosed with bowel cancer in May, the 63-year-old was discharged after 17 days in Christchurch Hospital. He's had two surgeries, as well as chemotherapy.
"I had a meeting with the surgeon this morning and he read the riot act to me, told me what I can and can't do and I'll do it, I'll take it easy."
But that's no easy task for Pitman - he's unashamedly emotional, as evidenced when Savvy Coup won the Livamol Classic in Hastings.
Tomorrow morning Pitman flies out in time to see his stable star at Moonee Valley in Melbourne.
She's currently a 31-to-one outsider in a field headlined by super mare Winx, who's chasing her 29th consecutive victory.
"You get $200,000 for running fifth, so top five would be a pass mark.
In Michael's absence, wife Diane Pitman has been overseeing the horse's preparation across the Tasman and she says the big race was never far from his mind.
"It's lifted Michael, a couple of times he's got down," she said.
For Michael Pitman October's been a huge month already and win or lose, Saturday, he says, will be a career highlight.