Prior to Thursday night's Renshaw Cup, Bathurst trainer-driver Amanda Turnbull would have readily told you that Ellmers Image had toughness.
But even she was surprised with just how tough her five-year-old gelding was in winning the $50,000 Group 2 feature at Penrith.
After going from barrier 11, Ellmers Image ($2.80 favourite) faced the breeze for the entire 2,525-metre journey.
He hit the lead after turning for home, then had to muster one more effort in the shadows of the winning post when James Rattray's Ignatius ($4.20) challenged late.
Turnbull's Falcon Seelster x Ellmer Joy gelding held on to win by by 1.1 metres, clocking a 1:56.7 winning mile rate.
"I'm really happy with that win," Turnbull said.
"I knew it was going to be tough from there [barrier 11], but going on his last run and his form lately, I thought he'd be hard to beat.
"I was a bit worried because he'd done so much work. I was sort of just waiting for Ignatius to come.
"I didn't know he was that tough. He's been going good over a mile, but he hasn't had to work much over that distance before."
As Turnbull indicated, Ellmers Image headed into Thursday night's Carnival of Cups meeting on the back of an impressive run over the mile.
He had scorched to victory in the Group 3 Ilsley Memorial at Menangle Park on April 6 in a 1:49.6 mile rate.
However, his favouritism for the Renshaw Cup did not rest on that performance alone.
Ellmers Image won the Inter Dominion Consolation in December over the 2,760 trip, while in March he placed a neck second in the Group 1 Bohemia Crystal Free For All (2,400m).
After going from barrier 11, Turnbull sat three wide with Ellmers Image early on in the Renshaw Cup, but soon urged him to punch forward.
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As the bell sounded Ellmers Image was a half length off then leader Picard, while Ignatius sat four back in the running line.
That changed down the back straight as Ignatius made his charge, while Ellmers Image was eyeballing Picard as they headed into the bend.
On balancing Ellmers Image had the lead and there he stayed to notch up his 15th career win.
In winning on Thursday night, Turnbull became the fourth member of her family to taste Renshaw Cup success.
Her grandfather AD Turnbull guided Just Scootin to victory in 2002, her father Steve took the honours in 2006 with Fierce Allegiance, while her cousin Emma Turnbull saluted with Blue Gum Forest in 2007.
Ellmers Image's next assignment will be the $65,000 Treuer Memorial at Bankstown on April 26.
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