Ashton Vea Vea has never seen a hospital ward like it.
As he lay in ICU battling COVID-19, the garbage collector scanned around the room.
Almost every other patient was on a ventilator, fighting for their lives.
Read more: Price confident Jamaea's best still to come
Thankfully Vea Vea's health did not deteriorate to those levels, but he will forever remember those two weeks at Royal Prince Alfred.
"I was in ICU for about six days," Vea Vea said. "All up, I was in hospital for 14 or 15 days. I was pretty bad for one stage there, but the doctors did pretty well.
"What I saw in ICU was one of the worst things I've ever seen. There would've been 10 people in there, only two could talk, me and someone else. From what I saw, it was pretty bad, so I was pretty lucky."
While sitting in hospital, the keen racing fan decided to have a crack at winning a share of $1.3 million.
So he purchased 10 tickets in the ballot for the Kosciuszko. Vea Vea missed out on a slot, but this year a second draw was conducted.
The Mascot punter was one of 18 participants to receive a slot in the new Four Pillars race.
The $700,000 event is restricted to Midway trainers and Vea Vea didn't hesitate in picking his horse, Robert and Luke Price's Verbek.
"I was reading through the form and he's been a bit unlucky, he's still young and a bit immature. I spoke to Robert Price and he said they'd change a few things and the horse will be ready for the race.
"If everything goes to plan I'll be at the track cheering him on. If there's a chance for me to come down, I'd love to visit the stables and take a look at him."
Luke Price was thrilled to have a runner locked in for the contest so soon after nominations were released.
The co-trainers have charted a path to the feature, the first step a maiden at Goulburn next Tuesday.
From there, the 1600 metres Bondi Stakes looms as a potential target on October 23, before dropping back to 1500m for the Four Pillars seven days later.
While still a maiden, Verbek finished second in the Listed Phoenix in June and Price is confident the horse will challenge for victory in the first edition of the race.
"It's a great initiative by Peter V'landys," Price said. "It's something I put forward to the handicapper a little while ago. I'm sure they'll tinker with the race again and it will get bigger and better.
"The Midway races are good betting races and it's really good for the Midway trainers to have this race.
"To have a runner in it and be one of the first horses in it is great. It would be special to win it. We've only been in the provincial area for four years, we want to make a statement as one of the leading trainers."