Queanbeyan trainer Joe Cleary lays Concrete Kosciuszko foundations

Finally some peace of mind. Queanbeyan trainer Joe Cleary has the Randwick monkey off his back. And the Highway Handicap one as well.

In the process he hopes Concrete has laid the foundations for a tilt at this year's $1.3 million Kosciuszko - the country version of the mega-rich Everest.

The Joe Cleary-trained Concrete could be off to the Kosciuszko after he got his trainer his first win at Randwick. Photo: AAP

The Joe Cleary-trained Concrete could be off to the Kosciuszko after he got his trainer his first win at Randwick. Photo: AAP

There he could come up against his right-hand man, Todd Blowes, who's also his own man and has set NSW Country Championships winner Noble Boy for the race.

Concrete held on for a gutsy win in the Highway Handicap (1200 metres) at Randwick on Saturday, with Star Shaft a long head away in second and Amorita a head further back in third.

It's Cleary's first win in the Highway series, for NSW country trainers, having had a number of places over the years.

Amazingly, it's also his first ever winner at Randwick, where he's been coming since he was a kid - recalling being there as a youngster when his father Frank won the 1989 Champagne Stakes with Select Prince.

It was a relief for Cleary, who's won races all over Australia.

"It's peace of mind, mate. I've trained winners all up and down the eastern seaboard," he said.

"I've had a winner on the Kensington track [at Randwick], but I've never trained a winner at Randwick and I've never won a Highway.

"So it's just peace of mind. Dad won the Champagne Stakes 30 years ago today with Select Prince so I've been going to Randwick since I was a kid."

Concrete jumped well and shot to the lead with star jockey Kerrin McEvoy on his back.

The three-year-old gelding controlled the race perfectly and was able to hold off the rest of the field up the Randwick straight.

Concrete could face Noble Boy in the Kosciuszko. They're stablemates of sorts, with their trainers close friends and colelagues.  Photo: AAP Image/Simon Bullard

Concrete could face Noble Boy in the Kosciuszko. They're stablemates of sorts, with their trainers close friends and colelagues. Photo: AAP Image/Simon Bullard

It's the son of Fastnet Rock's third consecutive victory, starting with a maiden (1200m) at Queanbeyan and then a class 2 (1000m) at Gundagai.

Cleary said the Highway (1000m) at Randwick on May 25 would be the next target.

But the main goal now was the Kosciuszko, where he could come up against Blowes.

Blowes works for Cleary as his right-hand man, but he's branching out in his own training right.

Noble Boy blew them away to win the country champs by two lengths at Randwick two weeks ago.

"That's the long-term plan. Obviously we'll have to take on Noble Boy, but the more irons in the fire the better," Cleary said.

"We'll keep it in the family. But I'm really, really happy. He's a nice horse. We got him from Melbourne."