Daniel Bowman's long-range plan to win his first Group 1 ended in a glorious result with his emerging star Begood Toya Mother taking out the $500,000 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday.
The young Warrnambool trainer identified Saturday's 1400-metre race earlier in the year as being his opportunity to train an elite-race winner and his popular horse did not let him down with another tough, on-speed effort.
Ridden by unheralded but highly trusted jockey Declan Bates, Begood Toya Mother ($3.10 favourite) held off a gallant challenge from Age Of Chivalry ($15), with the honest Widgee Turf ($14) filing third spot.
"I was surprised how easily he did it in the end to be honest," Bates said.
"Just credit to Daniel (Bowman) and his staff, he just keeps improving this horse, mentally more than anything.
"He was a bit tricky so they've done a massive job just to help him mature and produce him for the big day."
Begood Toya Mother and Declan Bates, picture Quentinjlang.com
Bowman said the plan to target the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes came after winning a restricted race at Sandown Hillside on Easter Monday (April 22).
"Since Sandown (his win in April) he put the writing on the wall as the type of horse that fitted the profile for this race," Bowman said.
"So that's when we put the plan in motion to get here and when a long-range plan comes off it's fulfilling - I'm sure it'll sink in later."
Bowman and Bates both described the race as working out 'perfectly' in Begood Toya Mother's favour once Iconoclasm blasted across from barrier 11 to lead.
"You could just see the horse (Begood Toya Mother) was getting keen and then Linda (Meech) came across (on Iconoclasm) and you could see the horse go to sleep," Bowman said.
"It was a good tempo which took the backmarkers out of it and we just used our weight to our advantage - he was too strong."
Bates rode below his usual riding weight of 52kg to partner Begood Toya Mother but was always aware of Bowman's long-term vision.
"I've known that he'd go to this race with 52kg and I've been preparing for the past two months," Bates said.
"So I've been slowly chipping away and not doing anything extreme - just eating better and exercising on days I'm not riding just to make sure I was here to do the horse 100 per cent justice."
Bates celebrates, picture Quentinjlang.com