AS THE nickname suggests, Outside Fighter, or 'Pig' as he is known around Peter Salathiel's Goornong stable, has always been a stubborn horse.
But the Goornong trainer and his daughter Katrina Cain are hoping they might finally have unlocked the key to success with the three-year-old son of Art Major out of Charli Springfield.
The gelding, bred by Katrina and husband Geoff, broke through for his maiden win at Lord's Raceway on Monday night.
Cain, who was the winning driver, said the win with Outside Fighter had 'been a long time coming'. Fifteen starts to be exact.
"That's the joys when you breed them," she said.
"We tried him as a two-year-old and he had a few issues; he had a fractured tooth we had to get rid of and he just wasn't quite ready.
"At the time we thought we'd send him over to Tasmania and give him a try over there, but that didn't really work either. I don't really know why that was.
"He's had some time off between his two and three-year-old year.
"His nickname is Pig because when he wants to do something it's definitely his way. You have to coax him into wanting to do it and he jams his tail down thinking 'I don't want to do it, so I won't do it'."
Cain, 29, credits a britching harness - traditionally used on draft horses - for a turnaround in attitude and performance.
"Not many harness racing horses would wear a britching - even Brian Gath said he'd never seen a britching used on a harness horse," she said.
"But that's kind of been his making and how he was able to get to the line.
"His last start (May 11) he would have won, but he was jamming his tail and just didn't want to get to the line, and he ended up third.
"Trailing the back of the leader (Polly Peachum), it was his perfect time to shine on Monday."
In one of the most exciting finishes of the nearly two-month-long regional racing period, Outside Fighter ($19.30) prevailed by 1.5m over the John McDermott-trained favourite Magic Smile ($2.90), with fewer than 4m covering the first eight runners in the 10-horse field.
Among them was Outside Fighter's stablemate Dream Asset, who finished fifth.
"(Dream Asset) was right at my shoulder as we were going over the line, but all I was thinking was have I beaten the outside horse (Magic Smile) or not," Cain said.
"I had to wait until I came back to the clerk of the course to find out I had won, which was very exciting.
"Hopefully, he kicks on from here. The regional racing seems to be helping him and he likes to race at Bendigo, so we are hoping the next start out (Monday) he can do just as well."
Outside Fighter is the first foal of Charli Springfield, who was purchased as a yearling by Cain and her father's cousin Mark Salathiel, 10 years ago.
The mare went on to win 12 races, many of them with Cain in the sulky, and record 22 placings for prize earnings of $98,404.
Among those wins was a heat of the Vicbred Platinum Mares Championships at Mildura in 2014.
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