The Gwenda Markwell stable is confident Charm Offensive could win a metropolitan race after the four-year-old claimed an impressive win at Kembla Grange on Tuesday.
Carrying the top weight, Charm Offensive took out the 1300 metre provincial and country maiden handicap, the fast-finishing gelding passing his rivals down the straight.
Robert and Luke Price-trained pair Young Heart and Tic Tock Man were second and third respectively.
Jockey Keagan Latham said it was a tough race to manage, but he was thrilled with Charm Offensive's performance.
"This is a horse that's shown a lot of promise," Latham said. "Obviously had his issues in the past, but he went down and did a great job in a tricky race.
"We were in a bit of trouble early on, they went pretty slow early and he was just trying to get racing. Once I pulled him out, he really let go nicely."
The win came in Charm Offensive's 10th start, with the horse placing second on five occasions throughout the past 18 months.
Now having broken the maiden, Latham said the horse has a bright future ahead of him.
"I think he won a bit easier than the margin suggested, hopefully he can maybe earn his way to the town one day.
"He's obviously still a racey guy, we'll take our time with him, just to keep him sound. I think he's definitely got the potential to earn his way to a city mid-week win."
Charm Offensive's win came after a solid second over 1100m at Hawkesbury in mid-December, a race in which he sat near the front early and led with 200m to go before fading late.
Tuesday saw Latham instructed to hold the horse back, a task that proved tricky given the pace of the race.
The jockey was able to do so, however, and Markwell's stable was thrilled with the win. Having won over 1300m, the camp is likely to extend his range moving forward.
"It was a bit of a problem with the pace," Latham said. "The race was very, very slow early on. I was having a bit of a hard time trying to settle him, because every time I took my hands down, they slowed the pace up.
"It was a pretty commendable win because he pulled and still quickened up nicely.
"I think he's a horse that will get further, but at least when you're in town, they tend to go a bit quicker, so you'll be able to settle a little bit more."
Markwell's victory came as Peter and Paul Snowden-trained horses took out the day's two highest rated races.
The wins could not have been more different, with Bound To Win edging Fashchanel by a nose to claim the fillies and mares benchmark 64 handicap before California Musical prevailed by more than two lengths in the CG&E benchmark 64 handicap in the following race.
Snowden foreman Lindy Wharekura said Bound To Win has a bright future ahead.
"She's always shown a lot," Wharekura said. "Peter and Paul have a good opinion of her. She's doing it the hard way, but getting the job done.
"She's still learning, anything could be possible for her. We'll see what happens in the future."
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