STAWELL - Graceful Affair finally repaid the faith shown by Tarrington trainer Robert Barker, notching up her first win in the 2175 metre Magdala Motor Lodge Pace at Laidlaw Park last Monday.
Driven by Rod Barker, Graceful Affair was restrained early and then sat three back on the pegs at the bell.
It wasn't until the final lap in the back straight that Graceful Affair gave chase, challenging the leaders and she went on to win by 4.5 metres in front of second placed Artois Stone.
Robert Barker was confident that his mare would break through for her maiden victory from 17 starts.
"I thought that if we drew (barrier) number one or two, we wouldn't miss a place," he said.
"We got seven and I thought 'oh we don't have much chance now', but even with the draw, we expected to place and she did win well. She's a beaut little thing."
Barker has had Graceful Affair right from the start and kept persisting with her.
"We kept sacking her and bringing her back. I had to convince the owners to keep her going," he said.
"I told them 'she'll win one eventually' and she has."
Greek To Me appreciated a drop in clas, with the Col Latter-trained gelding winning the 2175 metre Foster's Mensland Claiming Pace.
Greek To Me was three wide early but took the lead and was in front by 12 metres at the bell.
The 10 year old didn't have it all his own way though.
He was challenged by Kerryn Manning's Waterhorse in the home straight, but managed to hang on to win by 1.3 metres in a time of 1:59.6, just one hundredth of a second off the track record.
Driver Jason Lee wasn't overly confident of a win heading into the race, but gave Greek To Me a better chance than what was expected by the punters.
"I knew with the draw it was going to be tough, but once he got in front, he was going to be hard to beat," Lee said.
Lee admitted he was nervous on the home turn.
"I thought I'd got a bit excited on the turn, and that she (Kerryn) did have me on the corner.
"It's a bit scary being that far in front."
It was Greek To Me's third win in his last five starts.
"He's been going really well. I think he likes that race where he does it tough," Lee said.
It was Jason Lee's second driving win for the afternoon after he scored with Hillbilly Delight in the Renown Silverware Pace, while Matthew Craven drove Gelese to a narrow victory in the Waack's Bakery Pace and trainer/driver Ginger Gleeson took out the final race of the day with Sun Bird winning the Sertori & Co Trotters Handicap.