THE Muswellbrook-trained Two Big Fari is into the Final of the $500,000 Country Championships at Randwick in 13 days' time after just lasting to snare the $50,000 Wild Card (1280m) at Skellatar Park on Sunday.
Two Big Fari (Grant Buckley), in only his second preparation, refused to give in and held off the fast-finishing Bobbing (Robbie Dolan) to win in a photo.
Bobbing turned in an enormous run after coming from last on the turn and finishing wide out and will find the 1400m of the final and the long Randwick straight more to his liking.
Bobbing firmed to $6 second favourite for the final behind Ligulate, which has eased slightly to $5 while Two Big Fari joins Julian Rock on the third line of betting at $8.
Two Big Fari's trainer Todd Howlett has done an outstanding job with the four-year-old.
He won his maiden at Tamworth at only his second start but then had to have a bone chip removed from one knee and was turned out to give him time to recover.
Since resuming he has had five starts for four wins including two in town and now the Wild Card.
Howlett said the 13 days leading into the final was perfect for Two Big Fari.
"He is just such a relaxed, laid back horse," he said.
"He eats up and does everything you ask of him.
"You couldn't ask for a nicer horse to train.
"After he missed out on getting a run in the Tamworth heat, I was going to give up chasing a berth in the final.
"I thought having to bring him back to 1280m was too hard.
"However, his owner convinced me we should press ahead with our original plan and I'm glad he did.
"All my staff and my family have worked so hard and been so supportive in making sure we got here today."
Two Big Fari never had an easy run, forced to race three wide outside the leaders to the turn.
In the straight he moved up to challenge the favourite Mahalangur, hit the lead at the 100m and then, under desperate, riding just lasted to win.
Earlier in the day Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott continued on their winning way when the favourite Got Your Six (Adam Hyeronimus) won the Godolphin Tiara (1400m).
The mare won the start but Hyeronimus allowed her to settle back in third place off the speed to the turn.
She quickly bounded to the lead in the straight to win by two-and-three quarter lengths from the John Sargent trained Aesop's Fable ($8.50).