Jarrod Austin's "old professional" Hirokin produced a typically stoic performance at Mudgee on Saturday to claim a second Gooree Park Gooree Cup (1600m), and a third top-two finish in the last three years in the $40,000 feature.
After winning in 2017 and then backing up with a second in 2018 - finishing behind the Gai Waterhouse-trained Penske - Austin's stable veteran produced a mighty run this year to hold off bold challenges from Rod Northam's Cool And Neat and $2.90 favourite Noel's Gift.
And the eight-year-old bay did it carrying 61 kilograms.
The herculean run continues what is an unbeaten preparation for the Warwick Farm-based gelding with a win at Newcastle in the lead-up to Saturday's Gooree Cup victory.
Cowra hoop Mathew Cahill had the ride on the cup winner and says the class of the Rovos by Dubawi gelding makes for a plumb gig for any jockey.
"He's an old professional, he knows his job. He makes a jockey's job a bit easier," Cahill said post race.
Drawn the widest of the seven-horse field, Hirokin ($6.50) had to jump well to ensure he found the ideal spot at the head of the field.
Cahill's experienced helped in that regard and the pair shared a two-horse lead alongside Gayna Williams' well-backed gelding Wild Cavalier ($3.50) for the bulk of the opening 1000 metres.
Rounding the bend the challengers emerged and when the field hit the straight Cahill and Hirokin began to kick.
He had a big weight ... we needed to keep his momentum up and we did.Winning jockey Mathew Cahill on Gooree Cup champion Hirokin.
Wild Cavalier dropped back a touch, inviting both Northam's Cool And Heat ($5.50) and Noel's Gift ($2.90F) into the frame via a wide run.
Hirokin, though, proved more than up to the task and drove past the finishing post with impressive power, proving far too strong for both challengers, Cool And Heat and Noel's Gift finishing second and third respectively.
"He's a front-running horse but the horse in front (Wild Cavalier) was keen to lead so we just sat outside him," Cahill said.
"We had a nice run, he had a big weight so we didn't want to get him stop-starting, we needed to keep his momentum up and we did. He rolled to the front after he straightened up and he was brave all thew way to the line.
"He kept finding enough to win."
The length win was the 11th of Hirokin's career and given his lofty benchmark, now north of 81, it's unlikely the champion gelding will feature in country races unless Austin is prepared for his stable warhorse to lug a massive weight.
"He'll be hard to place now," Cahill said.
"He might have to find a few metropolitan races now unless he gets into a few country cups."