Talented pacer Modern Ruler had a dream return soured in a free-for-all race ahead of launching a fresh Inter Dominion campaign at Launceston on Sunday night.
Equal favourite Chopstix Boris hit the front on the outside with less than 100 metres to the line to hold off a series of challengers in the Storm Goddess Pace (1660m).
Truly Blissfull had set the early pace with a strong lead as great as 10 metres before Modern Ruler sitting off the back turned to the front with 500m left.
The Steve Davis-trained and driven standout act had resumed in Tasmania from a spell for the first time since February.
It clearly showed when the Spreyton horse was found out of gear in the straight to fizzle into fourth on the post.
Chopstix Boris dashed up on the outside neck-and-neck before drawing clear for the win in race five at Launceston.
It was 12th win for Rohan Hillier’s horse from 28 starts.
Something Eyre lifted to close in for second and All I Can Be had a strong finish into third.
Modern Ruler would have been hopeful of making a triumphant return against a mix of claimers and handy open-class performers, but more importantly for owners regaining race fitness into the top gelding.
The Tasmanian eight-year-old has been nominated for Inter Dominion in Western Australia set down later in the year.
The upsets started earlier in the night at Launceston when favourite Paint The Wind finished well back in the field for the Jay Bardon Stakes (2200m) in race three.
Moto Kenny dashed home to the post from Our Percius in a surprise 1-2 finish that also upset the bookmakers.
The Mark Yole-driven Ebonyallstarzzz, who is noted for having speed to burn, was unable to challenge for the victory in third place.
Paint The Wind had been set an ideal front-row draw to take out back-to-back wins on Sunday night.
The four-year-old had proven to be a model of consistency this time, having been placed four times before his last-start victory over the same distance.
The Rohan Hadley-trained gelding had won four and been placed five times from just 17 outings.