Rejuvenated rider Adam Hyeronimus paid tribute to racing's first lady Gai Waterhouse after the crack jockey needed only one ride to return to the winner's circle after a six-month ban.
Hyeronimus swept to victory on Sires Produce-bound Equator at Kembla Grange on Saturday, his first mount since being rubbed out by stewards for engaging in conduct prejudicial to the image of racing at an Eastern Suburbs hotel last year.
Senior hoops Brenton Avdulla and Daniel Ganderton were also caught in the crosshairs of stewards for their part in the incident.
But Hyeronimus returned to doing what he does best after the indiscretion - riding winners - and immediately paid tribute to Waterhouse who has stood by him throughout his suspension.
"It made it a bit easier that the horse had a lot of natural ability," Hyeronimus said of a return to the saddle.
"I'm very happy to get it off my shoulders. Gai has been remarkable and it's good to ride a winner for her for looking after me. She's taught me a lot, I've learnt a lot off her as a person and it's onwards and upwards."
That adage could also apply to betting ring drifter Equator, with connections eyeing off the $500,000 Sires Produce Stakes (1400 metres), the second leg of the two-year-old triple crown. They would be required to pay a late entry fee if Equator justified her owners' faith in the coming weeks.
Equator, from first season sire Northern Meteor, was friendless in the ring, drifting from an opening quote of $4.40 to be sent out an $8 chance. He paid $10.50 on the tote.
Moments after swamping stablemate Liberty's Choice, which held on for a well-beaten second, Hyeronimus sang the praises of Equator.
"A lot of the boys [like] Nash [Rawiller], Hughey [Bowman] have got a big wrap on him," he said. "I just thought over the 1000 [metres] they might have been a little too sharp for him.
"He was very green and couldn't keep up with them early, but once he straightened and balanced up I gave him a crack and he went past them.
"Once he got to the front, he showed how green he was as he was baulking a bit, but if he goes to a 1200 in a better race there's no reason why he's not going to be competitive."
Part-owner Harry Evans thought Equator, which Waterhouse forked out $140,000 for at the 2012 Magic Millions sales, was always going to win after his own personal experience at Kembla in the past.
"We had a winner almost 10 years ago to the day here, Ultimus, and he never did much good [afterwards]," Evans said. "He won a race here and we thought coming down here was a good omen.
"The way he pulled out and finished over the top of them - admittedly most were all first-starters [was good] - but we'll see how he improves and pulls up."
Another stakeholder, Wayne Lambert, bought into the horse on the day he was supposed to be getting a birthday present for his wife Ann-Marie.
Visiting French jockey Thomas Huet, who steered the runner-up in a Waterhouse-trained quinella, said: "The winner was just a little bit too good."
Hyeronimus booted home a winning double for Waterhouse and Star Thoroughbreds after Crocea ($2.10) rallied to victory in the Maiden Handicap.