SCONE trainer Paul Messara has one of the best strike rates in NSW and he added to that on Monday when Pelorus broke its maiden status with a win in the Rod Firth Maiden Plate (1100m).
With 45 winners from his previous 234 starters, Messara averages about a winner every five runners but he needed only one to make the Dubbo trip worthwhile.
With stable representative Nigel Bentley in charge, Pelorus arrived looking fit after a 115-day break and then he and jockey Leanne Henry did the rest.
From a good draw the four-year-old Fast 'N' Famous gelding was able to sit just off a good speed set by He's A Pius ($9.00, Kody Nestor) with the well-supported Two Penny Blue ($2.40 fav, Mathew Cahill) not letting the leaders get too far away.
Coming into the straight it looked as though the favoured pair of Pelorus ($3.50) and Two Penny Blue would fight out the finish however the latter failed to let down on the rock-hard track and it was left to Hammoon Lady ($7.00, Hannah Martin) to do the chasing.
Martin had to hook Hammoon Lady off the heels of Two Penny Blue and come down the outer extremities of the track but the three-year-old filly hit the line strongly to miss by just a long neck.
Two Penny Blue was a further one-and-three-quarter lengths away in third.
"That was pretty much what we expected today," Bentley said after the race.
"Paul thought that the form in this race wasn't overly strong and it would be a good place to try and get a win out of the horse and give him a bit of confidence.
"Leanne rode him perfectly as well.
"Everything went to plan nicely and now we will look to find another suitable race for him."
Henry was taken by the win of the pint-sized chestnut, who lumped 59kg in a race run in a slick time of 1:03.07s.
"I had to be patient before I asked him for a big effort because he had the big weight and is only tiny," she said.
"The other horse is a big filly and with Hannah's claim got in pretty light.
"But my fella did a good job. He's got a bit of speed so he can put himself in a race and it worked out nicely today."
The race wasn't without incident as jockey Tiffany Jeffries watched most of it unfold from the barriers after her mount Something Blu ($8.00) failed to leave the barriers.
Stewards examined the video before declaring Something Blu a starter, meaning punters that backed the mare did their money cold.