STAWELL - Class prevailed when speedy pacer Always Wantano proved too strong for his rivals in the Brian Gunnell Memorial Pace at Stawell on Monday.
The well named son of American sire Total Truth had been competing in some strong company of late, contesting the Mt Gambier Derby and the Vicbred Platinum Series, producing some excellent results.
In fact, in his entire career spanning 17 starts, Always Wantano has never finished further back than fifth, having accumulated three wins and eight minor placings.
Monday's win was a big thrill for trainer Kevin Brough, who said he went into the race hopeful of a good result.
"I was concerned with the draw. When we drew barrier 11, I thought our chances were gone," he said.
"However, we sat down and looked at the race closely and I thought if Matt (driver Matt Craven) could get around them and sit in the death, he would be a chance, because he had been running against some better horses.
"I knew he would stick on if he could get to the right spot and it all worked out.
"It was certainly a big thrill for the owners to win the race."
Brough said Always Wantano had been racing well in good company, but was having a bad run with barrier draws.
He did manage to win the two year old Southern Cross final at Bet Ezy Park Globe Derby in South Australia in June last year and was immediately sent out for a spell.
The gelding resumed at Stawell with a fourth placing and followed up with a win at Mt Gambier, but since, he has finished second on two occasions, third twice and fourth once, before finally breaking through on Monday.
"He had been meeting a lot classier horses, so we knew he would be a chance given the right luck at Stawell," Brough said.
Brough is planning to spell Always Wantano once again and then set him for the three year old version of the Southern Cross series in South Australia.
He will then return home to tackle the Vicbred series, following a similar path to his two year old campaign.
"He is showing a lot of promise and is a really good type," Brough said.
"We're keen to look after him, because he is still very fine, so we're trying to get a bit more muscle and a bit more weight on him.
"I think being the nice type he is, he will come back from the spell bigger and a lot stronger and that will enable us to set him for some of the better races."