STAWELL - She's Ayce finally broke through for Geelong-based trainer Tony Parker with victory in the Hennessy Park Stables Maiden Plate at Stawell last week.
After 10 starts that included seven seconds and three thirds, She's Ayce was a well-deserved favourite heading into the race.
Settling on the pace after a good start, She's Ayce raced prominently throughout with Robert Smerdon's Cue Sea and the Terry and Karina O'Sullivan-trained Our Rosella.
Sitting third at the 600 metre mark, jockey James Winks decided to make a move, gaining a dream run on the inside to steer She's Ayce into a winning position.
With 250 metres to go the five year old mare hit the front and held her nerve to win by a long neck, denying Darren Weir and Brad Rawiller their second win for the afternoon with Uno Whats finishing a close second.
Parker admitted he held his breath in the home straight for a while, but was pleased to see She's Ayce go one better this time.
Part-owner Scharlaine Cairns said she also thought the mare was pipped at the post.
"I was very relieved she wasn't. She's a good horse," Mrs Cairns said.
Despite missing out on a win so many times, Mrs Cairns remained positive.
"You can't complain with that many seconds. I'm happy with the experience," she said.
She's Ayce comes from a fine background - the mare is a half-sister to six year old Cross Street, who is also trained by Parker and won at Stawell twice late last year.
Meanwhile, Ron Gravett-trained Pyroclastic notched up her second win in three weeks by taking out the 2000 metre Gift Hotel Handicap.
The four year old was sitting at the back of the pack early and was still last with 1200 metres to run, before gaining ground and moving into ninth at the 400 metre mark.
Te Kewana had led from the start and was still in front with 600 metres remaining, before having his margin cut back in the home straight.
In the end it was a battle between visiting horses Pyroclastic and Severn Road, with the former winning by a short half head right on the line.
Trainer Gravett said he thought Pyroclastic had a real chance leading into the race.
"She drew barrier 14 which made it diificult but she did begin well," he said.
"We were looking to ride her mid-field but the race had no early pace and Garry (jockey Garry Murphy) elected to ride her back," he said.
In the Carey Covers Handicap, Simon Morrish celebrated victory with Quick Shakes coming back from a 21-week spell to record her fourth career win.