UNOAKED was only a minor player on Devonport Cup Day last season but connections are hoping she is now ready to take the lead role.
Her win in the J Boag & Son Handicap at Spreyton yesterday has trainer Leon Wells convinced that she will be a genuine contender for the $100,000 feature race in January.
With jockey Stephen Maskiell timing his run perfectly, the five-year-old finished strongly to beat Gea Force and Blacko.
It was on cup day nine months ago that Craig Newitt won a restricted race on Unoaked and predicted that, next time around, she would be chasing the major prize.
``Craig said she was a Devonport Cup horse if ever he'd seen one,'' Wells said.
``She's a nice mare with plenty more wins in store and, with a bit of luck, they might include a good one.
``She can have a short break now, then we'll set her for the cup.''
Wells was particularly pleased that Unoaked was able to finish off yesterday's race so strongly.
``With the track tending to favour on-pace runners, we had to ride her a bit closer than was ideal,'' he said.
The Wells family won three of yesterday's nine races, with Leon also scoring with promising filly Geegees Pretty Jess and son Dean landing the money with lightly raced mare Magestic Impulse.
JOCKEY Kim Moore and trainer Christine Crook delivered a knockout blow to most quadrella punters with a long-shot double.
They won the first leg with $69 rank outsider Glisson and the final leg with $25 chance Destiny's Girl.
Moore, who enjoyed her best ever season on the flat in 2012-13, had made a quiet start to the new season and hadn't ridden a winner until last week.
STANLEY owner Saskia Van Lulofs Umbgrove took a punt when she paid $18,000 for maiden Victorian galloper Overproof.
The well-bred son of Redoute's Choice, who had sold for $350,000 as a yearling, had performed only moderately at five starts for Caulfield trainer Mick Price.
However, Mrs Van Lulofs Umbgrove was desperate to buy a Redoute's Choice horse and jumped at the opportunity when Overproof came on the market.
``I had just missed out on another horse by the same sire and I asked bloodstock agent George Lucas to try to find a replacement,'' she said.
``This horse was meant to go to Macau but George managed to get him for us.
``He's now won two races and the first one carried a breeders' bonus, so he has paid for himself already.''
Overproof is now trained by Darryl and Gareth Horner and was ridden by top apprentice Siggy Carr when he led all the way to score by five lengths in the Class 1 Plate.
TRAINER Barry Campbell is confident of a good season with his three-year-olds after Bon Bonito's first-up win in the Tapeta Footing Handicap.
Bon Bonito, ridden by Anthony Darmanin, beat two highly rated rivals in Geegees Hot Hussie and Gee Gees Style.
The pleasing aspect for Campbell was that, although Bon Bonito is a very nice filly, he knows she cannot beat his stable star Grand Tycoon.
``Grand Tycoon has come back better than ever,'' the trainer said.
``I'll try to keep Bon Bonito away from Grand Tycoon whenever possible but they have different owners so she might have to take him on when we get to the better races.''
Darmanin said that Bon Bonito impressed with her acceleration.
``When I pushed the button, she really quickened,'' the jockey said.
``She has a real good turn of foot for 200m to 300m.''