STAWELL - After twenty-two starts, Balliang Lad finally broke his maiden status in the 2018 metre Boronia Peak Villas Maiden Plate at Stawell on Monday.
Balliang Lad raced towards the rear of the field early and was stil six lengths behind the leader with 600 metres to go.
Three horses looked set to battle it out on the home turn, but jockey Nikita McLean was able to get Balliang Lad into the clear and the gelding stormed over the top of his rivals to claim victory.
McLean admitted that she didn't think Balliang Lad had a chance on the home turn.
"I didn't think he was going to pick them up so I'm rapt to get the result," she said.
Monday's win followed second placings at Ararat and Mildura and Balliang Lad's owner, Jack Howard, expected the win.
Mr Howard thanked trainer Sue Jaensch, who had come across the border from Naracoorte with Balliang Lad.
"Sue's been fantastic since we've been with her," he said.
Balliang Lad arrived at Sue Jaensch's stables in April.
Mr Howard said he bred Balliang Lad, while the five year old has also taken the longest to progress. He was the last of the four foals to win a race.
Twin Spires returned second up from a spell to win the 1309 metre Schubert Catering Maiden Plate.
The four year old won the start and always raced handy. He stormed clear with 10 metres to run and won by a length from Terry and Karina O'Sullivan-trained Respect Me.
Rohan Hughes, racing manager for Twin Spires' trainer Chris Hyland, said Twin Spires was a 'nice horse.'
"He's always suggested he's better than a maiden," he said.
"He's taken a while to mature mentally. He'd always shown physical ability.
Stawell trainer Terry O'Sullivan said he was happy in the end with Respect Me's run, given some interference.
Respect Me was unlucky after being crowded for room in the back straight, which almost caused jockey Nikita McLean to fall off.
"For her to get up and still run second was a good effort," O'Sullivan said.
Former Stawell trainer, Darren Weir had a winner in the first race of the afternoon with short priced favourite Trust In A Gust.
Trust In A Gust began well and took the early lead and was out in front by three quarters of a length with 800 metres to go.
He was still half a length in front on the home turn, but had a fight on his hands over the concluding stages.
However Trust In A Gust, with Michelle Payne in the saddle, hung on to score by a head and record back-to-back wins for Darren Weir.
It was his second run back from a 24 week spell.
Michelle Payne said Trust In A Gust held his rivals off well.
"He is tough and will get better and better at racing."