Consistency paid off for Time Keepa Lombo as the ghostly grey broke through for a deserved win in the A consolation of the Regional Championships.
After a third behind eventual final winner Rocky Creed in the opening round of heats a half head was all the separated the seven-year-old from booking his place in the region's first group one race
Cee Cee Ambro just ran him down last week but Time Keepa Lombo responded to take out the major consolation at Riverina Paceway on Friday.
After a couple of near misses, trainer Rod Woodhouse was pleased to see him cross the line first.
"I think he deserves it," Woodhouse said.
"He's been knocking on the door so it was a nice one to win."
After a long break, Time Keepa Lombo has only missed once in 11 starts for the Wagga trainer.
Friday's win was just his second for his new stable as he put in another tough performance to down Topsie Grinner by 1.9 metres.
Woodhouse believes that's how he likes to race.
"He just seems to like it up there so for as long as he keeps going that way we will keep driving him that way," he said.
Reinsman Peter McRae was pleased to get another win with him and having to do plenty of work once more.
Especially following a string of six placings.
"He's certainly been a horse of consistency and he peaked today" McRae said.
"It would have been nice to have him in the final "but he's proven too good in the consolation.
While disappointed to just miss out on a group one spot, it avoided the Junee reinsman from making a tough decision on whether to drive him or Ideal Fantasy in the big one.
Ideal Fantasy finished fourth for Junee trainer Terry Judd.
McRae was thrilled with her efforts.
"She went super," he said.
"I was really happy with her and she run the race of her life."
The series was born due to impact of the coronavirus crisis forcing regionalised racing.
It replaced the Million Dollar Pace, where two Riverina horses would have qualified for the final worth $1 million.
Woodhouse believes it turned into an even better concept.
"It is pretty hard with no crowd or anything but I think it has been a success," he said.
"I prefer this spreading the money around than having a million dollar race as everyone gets a little bit of the prize."