Kody Nestor's handy run of form continued on Sunday as Miss Academy caused something of a surprise at Dubbo Turf Club.
The mare went a long way to booking herself a spot in next month's Country Championships Western Racing Association Qualifier when taking out Sunday's Wayne Mallison's Painting and Decorating Benchmark 58 Handicap (1310m).
Under a fine ride from Anthony Cavallo, Miss Academy ($12) shot past $3 favourite Dusky Damsel at the top of the straight and then held off a flying Zamali ($11) to make it three wins from 16 career starts.
It was also a welcome return to form after a disappointing sixth last time out at Cowra, something the Dubbo trainer took full responsibility for.
"I probably buggered it up myself at Cowra there," Nestor told Sky Thoroughbred Central on Sunday.
"She went off the boil for a bit there but she's been in the water walker for a week and freshened her back up and since then I've been really happy with her.
"It was the right grade today and it was a brilliant ride from a bad barrier."
Miss Academy went from barrier 11 on Sunday and was one of the last away before Cavallo soon began to work his way up to the middle of the field.
The Reverend Demon ($21) and $5 hope He's Our Toy Boy, on the very short back-up after racing at Scone on Friday, sat the pace Dusky Damsel appeared to have a fine run along the rails.
Miss Academy tacked on to the back of the Clint Lundholm-trained favourite and followed as she moved her way forward.
Lawnmeet ($8) was making a run wider on the track but Dusky Damsel soon got her nose in front at the top of the straight.
That advantage didn't last long though as Miss Academy responded to Cavallo's urges and surged forward.
It appeared she would power to a convincing win but the Bruce Parker-trained Zamali started a flying run from wide out to suddenly rocket into contention.
It wasn't enough though as Miss Academy won, with Zamali scoring an eye-catching second from Lawnmeet while Dusky Damsel was fourth.
The win proved to be Nestor's lone victory for the day despite having some more high profile chances in.
Risk And Reward was still promising when finishing third behind Central Districts heat contender Healing Hands while his fellow western qualifier hopeful Toulon Brook battled on and finished eighth in the day's final event.
The only other hometown trainer to win on Sunday was Connie Greig.
Greig had $26 hope Malibu Stacey take out the Pat Donoghue's Birthday Benchmark 58 Handicap (1610m).