Rewarding Hero nearly threw away his debut win, veering across the track in the run to the line, but trainer John Moore and jockey Brett Prebble were taking the four-year-old's ability to win despite the erratic racing manners as a positive sign.
A previously unraced northern hemisphere import who had been ridden in behind in his trials, and had even showed a tendency to be slow away, was thrust into the unfamiliar role of leader in a race full of inexperienced horses.
As Brett Prebble went for home from the top of the straight, he went from the rails to six wide at the winning post, just hanging on from the fast-finishing Heartland on the fence.
"He got left in front and it's a situation he has never been in either in work or trials," Prebble said.
"It was completely new to him, but he kept going and got the job done, he will take a lot from the experience.
"He got a bit lost in the straight as he got tired, and it was a funny run race, with that horse running off."
Prebble was referring to Bullish Boy, who took hold of rider Matthew Chadwick and will be forced to trial to the satisfaction of stewards.
"He has got a great attitude, nothing bothers him and he doesn't waste any energy, that will stand him in good stead," Prebble said.
"He's got a lovely big action, it was only a narrow win but he will take a lot from it."
Dwayne Woods, brother of trainer Sean, purchased Rewarding Hero for owner Lee Fung-tai in England. When the horse arrived in quarantine, an administrative oversight saw the horse listed to be trained by Woods, before a "transfer" saw the error corrected.
"The horse was always intended to be trained by me," Moore said.
The trainer has taken his time with Rewarding Hero, giving the four-year-old three trials, and he needed every one of them in preparation for a race where his northern breeding and subsequent 57 rating meant he would carry 133 pounds.
Offsetting the impost was drawing barrier one: "That was the bonus and made the difference," Moore said.Topics: Horse Racing John Moore Brett Prebble