"87th start and she finally gets home... super!"
It's an understatement to say Coolamon trainer Len Clement was satisfied after eight-year-old mare, Nunya, repaid his long-held faith and claimed a maiden victory at Wagga's Riverina Paceway on Friday.
"We knew it was going to happen but we didn't know when," Clement said.
Three years after Nunya came into his care, it did happen - in the first race of the day, the TAB Odds and Evens Ladyship Pace (1740m), and on her last chance.
"If she went bad today we were going to make a decision on what we did," Clement said.
"But I told the owner three years ago when he sent her to me, I said, 'I'm going to win a race with her if it kills me.'
"Well, I've won the race and it didn't kill me! Yeah, she went good."
Clement praised driver Ellen Bartley, saying the reinswoman knows exactly how to handle Nunya ($3.30f), who led all the way to win by four lengths from the Judith Rutland-trained Ace In Our Pocket ($3.50).
"Ever since I put Ellen on, she's handled her and the horse is going a lot better. She can do things we couldn't do. So I was glad to see Ellen was aboard today," Clement said.
Clement said they'll be back at Wagga next Saturday night and hoping to go back-to-back after the breakthrough.
"We thought we might put her on the market after she won one but Ellen said, don't you dare! So we won't."
If Clement and Bartley were happy, how about Jackson Painting, who finished the day with three winners from his six drives.
The Coleambally reinsman got the job done with Nelly Albertina (trained by David Micallef), Run Business Run (Colin Thomas) and Killara Kaos (Damien McKelvie), which won the Club Menangle Country Series Heat (1740m) for the Marrar trainer, in the day's slickest mile rate of 1.53.6.
Wagga's Jared Kahlefeldt drove a double for father Paul, beginning with Soho Beijing.
Kahlefeldt had his heart in his mouth until the line as the $3.10 favourite ran down Monterei Heaven ($5.50) in the last stride to win the Riverina Security Solutions Pace (1740m) by a half-head.
"It was a pretty good drive," trainer Paul Kahlefeldt said.
"Pressured early, it was a very fast first half, but he just finished strongly... he's been a nice consistent horse for us. He had a bit of a break but he's a good eater and got a bit fat and he's coming back."
Soho Beijing handed up the lead to Clement's Auckland Star with a lap to go but had to get out and finish off late after Blake Jones took the Kym Hillier-trained Monterei Heaven to the front in the straight.
Twentyeightblack completed a good day for the Kahlefeldt stable, taking out the last, the Football Premiers Race Night Oct 26 Pace (2270m).
The $2.80 favourite racked up a 13th career win (from 45 starts), and second in a month, with a comfortable four-length margin over the Josh Powderly-trained Mah Koo Loo Queen.
After just missing out to Soho Beijing, Jones and Hillier enjoyed success in the following race when Shezaluckylady ($4.80) nabbed Sophie Stening ($26) by a half-head on the line in the Thomas Blamey Tavern Ladyship Pace (1740m).