KATE Hargreaves has won bigger races as both an owner and trainer, but few have been more satisfying as Well Defined's victory at Shepparton on Wednesday night.
The five-year-old trotter broke a run of four-straight second placings and five seconds in six starts with his 2190m victory from the standing start.
Back in class, Well Defined still had plenty to contend with off his 40m mark.
But given the benefit of a brilliant drive from Chris Alford and showing plenty of his trademark courage, the gelding was able to overhaul the frontrunner Spiders Devil in the home straight to record a stout and brave win by a head, with Valley Ess Jay back in third.
Shelbourne trainer Hargreaves couldn't have been prouder.
"He has been going super and chasing home some nice trotters," she said.
"He was down in grade, but I was a bit worried about the 40m handicap - horses don't usually win off 40m, but things worked out well and Chris drove him perfectly.
"He just got there in the end and it just a massive thrill, he's a very special horse for Albie (Alex Ashwood) and I."
Well Defined, by Majestic Son out of Focus On Me, holds a special place in the young couple's hearts as one of the 'originals of their stable from when they made the decision to branch out together.
He is part-owned by Kate's brother Brett.
"I just love him - he's like my little pet. He's a cool horse and has a lot of character about him," Hargreaves said.
"He's definitely a stable favourite and there's that extra bit of history with him, so it's a bit special when he does things like that."
As the clock continues to tick on regional racing ahead of the July 1 resumption of metropolitan and feature racing in Victoria, Well Defined will end the revised racing period with two wins and five seconds from nine starts.
There's every reason for Hargreaves to believe those performances can be a stepping stone to bigger and brighter things in the weeks and months ahead.
"He ran Sundons Courage to a neck last time out at Kilmore - I really think he's gone to the next level and matured," she said.
"I'm sure running against the better horses has seasoned him up a bit, but I think he's even going better than he did when he won the Tontine (Trotting Championship at Terang last March).
"There's a metro race for him next week that I might pop him in and then there is a series - the winter trotters championship - with a $20,000 heat into a $30,000 final. That will be his main aim."
Well Defined, who started his career in New Zealand, has now won nine races and been placed 11 times in 48 starts.
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