STAWELL - Stawell trainers Terry and Karina O'Sullivan had plenty of confidence their mare Vihanna Victory would perform well at Moonee Valley on Saturday and their faith was rewarded with an impressive win in the Chandler McLeod Handicap.
Terry O'Sullivan had indicated that he believed Vihanna Victory was good enough to be competitive in the Benchmark 70 rated event, despite it being her first try over the longer 2500 metre distance.
There were plenty of anxious moments throughout the event, as after drawing a wide barrier, young jockey Patrick Moloney was forced to sit three deep on Vihanna Victory for most of the journey.
Turning for home, Vihanna Victory loomed up to take the lead, but many expected the torrid run to take its toll.
However, the talented six year old mare showed plenty of courage to maintain her run and hold her rivals at bay for a gutsy win.
Vihanna Victory scored by a neck from Masters Degree, with Bruntwood a further three and a half lengths away third.
The win impressed Terry O'Sullivan, who has been thrilled with the stable's outstanding run of form on the metropolitan circuit.
"I thought it was a fantastic run. She was really powerful," he said.
"I was rapt for her especially as it was her first try at the 2500 metres."
O'Sullivan described Saturday's $80,000 event as a good test for Vihanna Victory and the tests won't stop coming for the mare, who will now tackle open company at Flemington on January 11.
"It will be a really big test for her for sure," O'Sullivan said.
"Given the way she won on Saturday though, I think she will be up to it.
"I thought she was entitled to weaken on Saturday. I wouldn't have been surprised if she did, but she just kept going. I'm really happy with her at the moment."
O'Sullivan said he expected quite a few horses who contested the listed Bagot Handicap at Flemington on New Year's Day to line up against Vihanna Victory on January 11.
In the meantime, O'Sullivan will be hoping his success on the metropolitan circuit can continue tomorrow at Caulfield, with Magnapal contesting the Adam Meyer Handicap over 2000 metres and Tykook lining up in the Kellie Turvey Handicap over 1200 metres.
Magnapal is coming off a last start fourth at Caulfield, where he had no luck at all, while Tykook was a luckless seventh at her last outing at Morphettville.