Joao Moreira used a bit of bluff to burst out of the widest barrier in a Class Two in an effort to ensure he led unopposed on the John Size-trained Khaya, and the five-year-old did the rest to continue his rise towards a triple-figure rating.
Drawn 14 first-up over a mile, Moreira was determined to make an early challenge for the lead, and made sure his rivals were left in no doubt of his intentions with aggressive riding in the first part of the race.
"I made sure of it, so they wouldn't want to push to fight me for the front," Moreira said.
"I was going to lead or sit outside the leader, but because I was riding so hard to get there, they let me go. And because I was left alone, I was able to dictate and run along at a pretty strong tempo.
"The horse did relax very nicely, especially after being ridden like that to start with, which allowed me to have a kick in the finish."
Since winning in mid-March, a string of top four finishes had seen Khaya rise 13 points without winning to end up on a mark of 93, and now his fifth win from 15 starts will put the former 52-rater on the brink of Class One.
"He has been very consistent and creeping up in the handicaps with all of those placings may have cost him a win or two, but he has done a good job to put together a record like that," Size said. "Hopefully, he will stay in the grade and that will give him a chance to win another race later this month."
Size was pleased with Khaya's improved race manners after he showed a tendency to lose focus last season, especially when out in front, but Moreira reported that there were still some creases to iron out.
"He still wanted to have a look around," he said.
For the second meeting in a row, Size provided Moreira with a lone winner in the last to finish an otherwise frustrating day after last Saturday's win on Access Years. This time, three runner-up finishes and a third during the day gave Moreira the Jockey Challenge win with 33 points, just edging out Zac Purton.
"All I did was finish off the job of an amazing trainer," Moreira said. "I had only sat on him once in the lead-up, in a trial. It was amazing to have him even better than he was last season."