Doug Whitworth trained horse I Am The Dark stormed home to victory to win the Melbourne Cup Carnival Country Series heat one at Murtoa on Saturday.
Apprentice jockey Jessica Eaton rode the gelding to victory to win the $50,000 race for the boutique Stawell trainer.
The victory sees I Am The Dark qualify for the $200,000 final of the country series to be raced at Flemington on Oaks Day during the Melbourne Cup carnival.
Whitworth, who was unable to attend the raceday, said it was a terrific victory to have.
“It was quite good prizemoney from the race and what lies ahead is also exciting,” he said.
“He is a horse who traditionally is better on softish ground but we decided we would go forward and rolled the dice to see how we went and it paid off.”
“We will put in place a plan to rest him and get him ready.”
The country series is limited to trainers without a metropolitan base, seeing the best country horses compete for a spot in the 1600 metre race.
While Eaton rides I Am The Dark during track work and will also ride him at Cranbourne on Sunday, she is unlikely to ride him at Flemington due to restrictions on apprentice jockeys.
The Oaks day race will be the first time I Am The Dark will have raced at Flemington, but Whitworth said he does not think he will be affected by the large crowds.
“He has had a couple of city meetings and country cups before which have been pretty big,” he said. “I think he will be enjoy the spacious track at Flemington.”