Newcastle Mile hopeful Don Boston was "buggered" and headed for retirement three years ago when Menangle trainer-driver Brad Abbott asked to have a go with the veteran pacer.
Now 11, Don Boston has turned Abbott's $2000 investment into more than $200,000 in prizemoney.
And he just keeps getting better with age.
Abbott will take Don Boston to Newcastle Paceway on Friday night hoping he can back up a career-best mile of 1:49:8 at Menangle on January 25 at his 215th start.
It was his 40th career victory and also his 26th at Menangle, giving him the most of any pacer at the track.
Two starts earlier, Don Boston ran a scintillating 1:52.4 at Newcastle in an easy 11-metre win.
Abbott is hoping for a repeat in race four on Friday ahead of a potential shot at the group 1 Newcastle Mile on February 23. Eight horses will contest the $100,000 Miracle Mile qualifier.
"If he happens to win this week at Newcastle, I might not race him the week after and try and aim him at the Newcastle Mile," Abbott said.
"Whether he gets a run, I don't know, but I'll nominate him. The form and the dollars are there at the moment, so we'll wait and see what the handicappers decide."
Regardless, Abbott is enjoying a fairy-tale run with Don Boston, which he was given a free opportunity to race by fellow trainer Leon Jurd about three years ago.
"Leon had him and the vet thought he might be buggered and he might be better off retiring him," said Abbott, who has six in his stable.
"I happened to be up there that afternoon and I was telling Leon I liked the horse, and he said I could give him a go and if he happened to win a race, just give him $2000.
"The second start I gave him, he went 1:50 and won, so I gave him his $2000.
"He's the best horse I've got for that sort of money."
A group 1 shot at Newcastle would cap a remarkable resurgence from Don Boston, which has won nine of 19 starts this season.
Abbott said there was no real secret to the recent success other than keeping Don Boston happy and fresh.
"He's just been getting better and better," he said.
"He's just been going through a good season. He's happy racing and he hasn't got any niggling injuries that he's had in the past.
"At Newcastle he could probably never get better than 1:55 ... but last run he went 1:52 and a bit and did it quite comfortable."
The duo will have to overcome a wide draw on Friday night but Abbott was confident of another top effort.
"He's got a good record at Newcastle, I think he's only been beaten the once there," he said. "We'll try and get to the front.
"Craig Cross has one there [Carter Bromac] that's handy but it galloped last start. Peter Rixon's [Jimison] goes good as well, so it won't be easy."
Race one is 6.25pm.