East Devonport owner Mick Maxfield was worried that his star pacer Max Delight might not make the field for the $300,000 Victoria Cup at Bendigo on Saturday night.
The horse had to be scratched from a lead-up race only a week earlier due to a stone bruise in his hoof.
"I was worried he wouldn't have enough points to get into the field," Maxfield said.
However the five-year-old not only got a spot in harness racing's equivalent of the Melbourne Cup, he won it in brilliant fashion.
Driver Chis Alford trailed the leader for most of the race and used the sprint line in the home straight as Max Delight charged clear to score a 3.2m win over Triple Eight with favourite King Of Swing a neck away third.
The win added $171,000 to Max Delight's career earnings which now total $665,000.
It represents a healthy return on the $245,000 that Maxfield outlayed to buy the Bettors Delight gelding in Sydney in 2017.
Maxfield was rapt with the biggest success of his long involvement in the sport.
"I didn't expect it - it's a race I never expected to win," he said.
"The horse has done an amazing job.
"He had almost 12 months off (most of 2020) with a fine crack in his fetlock.
"While he was out, he became very hard to handle and we had to geld him.
"That was about 12 months ago. I didn't want to do it. I wanted to keep him a colt for Tasmania's sake and stand him at stud when he retires."
Max Delight has now won three races worth $200,000-plus, having previously captured the NSW Derby and Breeders Crown.
But Maxfield believes Max Delight still has his best form ahead of him.
"Puppet (Chris Alford) says the horse has matured a lot and has plenty left to offer," the owner said.
Trainer David Aiken will now give Max Delight a week off before preparing him for the Sydney Inter-Dominion in November and December.
Max Delight is on the seventh line of betting at $26.
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