BENDIGO galloper Zoutons made the most of a step back in class at Kilmore on Wednesday, fighting his way to the second win of his young career.
The Brendon Hearps-trained three-year-old had to dig deep to stave off an improved Was Written, but showed plenty of resolve in the final stages under the urging of jockey Noel Callow to grab a narrow victory.
The Zoustar gelding was contesting a 1200m class one event, after finishing sixth in a 1100m benchmark 70 three-year-old event at Caulfield earlier in the month.
Hearps was quick to label Zoutons' previous effort as 'disappointing', but after enduring a few nervous moments in the straight, he was firm in his belief that the gelding had benefited from the experience.
"He's not really good for the heart is he," he told broadcaster Racing.com.
"He's definitely going to run a bit of ground, but I'll just wait until next time in.
"All of his work shows he will get 1400m or 1600m.
"As long as he keeps winning he'll be alright, I don't want him to rest on his laurels.
"He's beautiful, he's just the quietest horse you will deal with. He's the quietest horse I would have had in the last 20 years.
"I think he went to Caulfield and thought he was a bit better than what he really was. It's done him the world of good, it's really smartened him up."
Zoutons, the son of Hearps' smart sprinting mare Umgeton, made his highly-anticipated debut at Bendigo last August, finishing third.
After a 16-week spell, the three-year-old knocked over his maiden with an impressive victory at Bendigo in December, with Thursday's win progressing his solid formline to two wins and a second from four starts.
Just as Hearps is convinced Zoutons has a future over a longer distance, so too is Callow, who has been aboard the gelding in both wins.
"He's a nice horse ... progressive. You see his action, he has a very high head carriage and he just hasn't learned to flatten out and hit that top gear," he said.
"He will - he's only a young horse. I was happy he got the job done.
"He will (get further), he'll go to 1400m. It's up to Brendon, whatever he wants to do, he just needs to flatten that head and hit top gear and he could be on a bigger path."
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