All eyes were on the Bernie and Doug Hewitt trained The Mustang ahead of the opening Soho Valencia Pace in Dubbo on Sunday evening.
The Hewitt camp trained gelding had impressed the bettors with his recent win in Parkes and second place finish in Dubbo, but it was Nathan Turnbulll and his Camanchi Warrior who fought of the competition to secure a minor upset in the day's opening race.
The field of six was led by the Barry Lew trained and Mat Rue driven Karloo Bodacious ($3.00) from the start, but as the race tightened a three way battle for first place developed as Turnbull surged along the inside and The Mustang struggled to make his way around the edge.
Millie the Fillie and Bronski Breeze both tired early and trailed the undertaking for much of the final lap, with the Greg Pay trained Bid for Stardom hanging in late but denied in the final stretch from finding a top three placement.
Turnbull drove his underdog straight down the centre of the final straight, urging it on and keeping ahead by a gap that was close enough to have second and third place uncertain, but Camanchi Warrior clearly in first.
"It's always good to get off to a good start, I came here thinking I had good each way chances in each race all day, so with a little bit of luck, we could get there, but we'll see how it all goes," Turnbull said in the immediate aftermath, after paying homage to Dubbo Turf Club's David Wrigley.
"David's been a big supporter, he's always stuck by me and stuck with me, so it was good to get a win on his home turf," Turnbull said.
While the small field likely aided Turnbull more than hindered him, he was still quick to pay respects to the two other contenders, noting that he considered them the toughest horses to beat.
"I knew the two that I went across the line with were going to shape up to be very hard to beat and that's certainly how it panned out at the end," Turnbull said.
"We went across the line together, but to my fella's credit, he stuck his head out and like I said, those other two, I've got a lot of respect for, so I'm very happy with how Camanchi Warrior performed."
Camanchi Warrior has now won two of his last three starts after a strong performance in Blayney.
The Mustang finished in third for Doug Bernie Hewitt, while Karloo Bodacious and Mat Rue secured a second place finish.
In the following KTC Standardbred Pace, Amanda Turnbull drove Ben Settree's So Am I to victory, with the gelding sitting as a strong favourite and proving the bettors right by finishing ahead of Michael and Jack Pay's Jacobs Thunder, who came in second and the Nathan Turnbull trained and driven Shoobees Magic, who finished in third place.