For a moment, Kembla trainer Louise Dean thought she was watching another missed opportunity for three-year-old gelding Yumani at Kembla Grange on Tuesday.
"When the other [horse] dug up beside him I thought 'here we go, he will turn his toes up now and just let it go past'," she said.
"[Jockey] Adrian Layt said the same. He thought it would be the same but he didn't. He really tried."
Yumani and Layt eventually fended off the challenge of Mackinac Island in the latter stages to score by a half-head to shed his maiden tag.
The victory came after the gelding had failed to be placed in seven visits to the track despite an improved show in his most recent outing.
"He can gallop but up until now [he hasn't done it on raceday]," Dean said.
"Half of it is a little bit of immaturity, a lot of it is I am not going to try. He goes better than the other horse we have, Perash, but there is no input.
"We just changed a few things with him, put the blinkers on ... it switched him on a little bit."
The son of Snippetson, a despised outsider at $71, had a good run in transit and Dean was hopeful the performance would help the gelding 'turn the corner'.
"We have had really high hopes with this horse but he has been really disappointing. Hopefully now he has won he might be right now and have a little bit of confidence," she said.