THE Heathcote father-daughter combination of Terry and Tayla French is in celebration mode after their stable favourite Form Analyst broke through for his first metropolitan victory at Lord's Raceway on Saturday night.
The son of Bettors Delight and Shezacullen had been racing without luck in recent runs, but was able to rise to the occasion in the wet on his home track and produce a career-best effort in an ultra-competitive four-year-old and older pace over the 2150m distance.
An $11 chance, Form Analyst made amends for a rare back in the field effort the previous week, with star young driver Tayla French taking full advantage of the sprint lane to push through for a well-deserved victory, ahead of a fast-finishing Mamas New Dude, for Laura Crossland.
The win was the six-year-old gelding's first in 21 starts since his last victory at Shepparton in November last year.
Several of his runs in between wins have been in strong pacing cup events, including Bendigo, Shepparton and Wedderburn.
Speaking post-race on Trots Vision, Tayla French could not hide her delight with Form Analyst's breakthrough performance.
"I'm speechless ... I've never known a horse to be so unlucky every start," she said.
"As soon as he drew barrier one, I thought this is the race for him.
"He probably did a bit too much work out of the gate, but once Grant (Campbell on Yankee Lincoln) crossed me, he managed to relax and was pretty comfortable.
"The way he hit the line, he's not normally a sit-sprint horse, he's got to be out working and doing it tough. But I can't complain, he's gone super.
"Honestly, that's the first race I have driven him with a bit of luck, every (other) start he has been unlucky, which is unfortunate because he can run.
"Tonight the race suited him - it's awesome."
Form Analyst, who started his career with Emma Stewart in June 2016, boosted his career record to 13 wins and 14 placings from 57 starts.
It was win number two for the Frenches with the gelding, who has compiled a long list of placings in his 23 starts for the stable.
For French, it was her second metropolitan driving win following her success earlier in the year on the Ross Graham-trained Animated at Tabcorp Park Melton.
The 23-year-old was quick to lavish further praise on the horse and of course her father.
"He is a horse who is so honest and always tries, but at the end of the day he has got to be up on the speed," he said.
"Today was his day.
"It's a huge achievement on dad's behalf, it's our first metro horse and it's his first metro winner."
Form Analyst's win in the opening race contributed to a run of three-straight Bendigo-region-trained winners to start the meeting.
Locals on fire
Carla Innes-Goodridge made it two-from-two for the locals with the smart four-year-old gelding Zarem, while Kate Hargreaves continued the momentum in the third race following a return to form by Streitkid.
Zarem, one of the stars of the first phase of regional racing during April and May with a pair of wins and two seconds, returned to top form, staving off the in-form Robbie Royale to win by half a neck.
Reigning Bendigo pacing Cup winning driver Jason Lee, who took the winning drive on Zarem, was full of praise of the four-year-old, who advanced his record to six wins and 20 placings from 43 starts.
"I had driven him once before at Ararat (in September last year) and he won that night ... Ellen (Tormey) couldn't get there, so I thought he was a nice little horse," he told Trots Vision.
"I think his gate has improved definitely since that night.
"When you get a nice draw, you have to try and take advantage of it.
"Once we got across, it probably didn't feel like we were going that quick, but when the first quarter came up it was solid enough.
"And when we asked him for a bit of effort he sprinted through well."
Lee speculated a tilt at the Vicbred series could be in the offing for Zarem, whose six career wins include four at Lord's Raceway.
"Definitely, I couldn't see why you wouldn't be aiming him up at that," he said.
"He's come a long way and they have done an unbelievable job with him.
"He's done a good job tonight and they might as well aim him up at a nice race and see where he lines up because I think he will just keep getting better with age."
Have you signed up to the Bendigo Advertiser's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in central Victoria.