Kody Nestor wasn't really sure what to expect from Eva's Deel at Dubbo Turf Club on Tuesday but under another promising performance from jockey Kate Cowan the filly scored a debut win.
Eva's Deel is a new addition to Nestor's stables and made the first start of her career for the Dubbo trainer in the Western Magazine F&M Maiden Plate (1200m) at the annual Melbourne Cup Day meeting.
The three-year-old filly was a $5 outsider in the small field of five but Cowan got her to fight on in the straight and hold off the fast-finishing $1.90 favourite, You Know Zon.
"I'm very surprised but I'm happy for the owners," Nestor said.
"He's got three or four horses with me now so it's a good result and in a first start you can't do any more than that."
Having previously been with Brett Thompson and trialled for the Gulgong trainer at Scone in June, Nestor still hadn't seen a whole lot of Eva's Deel heading into Tuesday.
Her nature around the stables also made it hard for the trainer to get a real read on her but she got away well from barrier five and shot to the lead.
She kicked out to a one-and-a-half length lead early on from Ellavanelle ($3.50) while Rubick's Magic ($2.20) sat third.
Eva's Deel maintained her advantage heading into the straight and while the Clint Lundholm-trained Ellavanelle threatened on the outside of the leader at one point she soon began to fade.
The Anthony Cavallo-ridden You Know Zon then launched his assault from the outside and seemed destined to take victory, only for Eva's Deel to punch on and win by a head.
"She hasn't worked a whole lot and you can't get a good guide on her in track-work so we were more or less hoping," Nestor said of the Dundeel X Duke's Lass filly.
"She is well bred so that's one thing she's got on her side but I'm very happy for Kate and the owners."
Nestor, whose last ride as a jockey was a win at Dubbo's Melbourne Cup meeting in 2016, went on to heap more praise on Cowan.
The apprentice, originally from New Zealand, has made a fine start to life under Nestor in Dubbo and after riding a winner on Derby Day for the trainer she got the job done again on Tuesday.
"She's been going really well. She's a good kid who wants to learn and she'll go a long way," Nestor said.
The result meant You Know Zon's search for a first win goes on.
Trained by Justin Stanley at Narromine, You Know Zon has now gone 38 starts without a victory.
Ellavanelle finished third while Brett Cavanough's Rubick's Magic and the Michael Lunn-trained Count On Conflict ($5) rounded out the field.