Bendigo galloper Red Cracker scored a drought-breaking victory for his patient trainer Bob Donat at Saturday's Bendigo Jockey Club meeting.
The five-year-old mare has always shown her trainer that she has talent, but in her 18 starts prior to Saturday she'd only been first past the post once.
That win came in maiden grade on August 5 last year and in 11 starts since that victory she posted nine top-five finishes without a victory.
Finally on Saturday the daughter of Redente put it all together when she stormed home from last on the turn to win the Kieran Byrne Builders 0-58 Handicap (1400m).
With apprentice jockey Matthew Cartwright in the saddle, Red Cracker relished the heavy track and showed a good turn of foot to reel in her rivals down the long BJC straight.
Red Cracker now has a career record of 19 wins for two wins and five placings.
Donat's attention turns to Sunday's Horsham Cup meeting where stable star Tatunka has the opportunity to qualify for the $500,000 final of the Melbourne Cup Carnival Country Series at Flemington on Oaks Day.
Tatunka resumes from a spell in the 1400m heat and must finish in the first two to earn automatic qualification for the final.
Tatunka has drawn barrier 15 which makes life tough for jockey Joe Bowditch on the tight confines of the Horsham track.
Two other Bendigo-trained gallopers are seeking a top-two finish in the race.
The consistent Vungers is second-up from a spell for Brendon Hearps, while the promising Just Folk resumes from a break for Josh Julius.
Vungers, who has drawn barrier 12 on Sunday, ran well to finish sixth over an unsuitable 1100m down the straight at Flemington last start.
The step up to 1400m looks ideal for the seven-year-old.
Just Folk made a big impression for Julius when it won two of his first three career starts.
Both of those wins came on heavy tracks and Sunday's event will be his first career run on top of the ground.
Julius already has Highclass Harry qualified for the final after it ran second in the opening heat at Murtoa earlier this month.
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