Garry Lunn got back to winnings ways at Dubbo Turf Club on Monday but it was a horse which claimed a minor placing which he was more impressed by.
Lunn was on show in a big way in the Commercial Hotel Dubbo Maiden Handicap (1600m) as Dusktilldawn secured victory while the lightly-raced Sweet April Love finished strongly to claim third.
The victory was just the second in more than five months for Lunn but having two inside the top three pointed towards better things to come.
Monday's top weight and $3.20 favourite Ellia never really got into the race and that, as well as two horses inside the top three, came as no great shock to Lunn.
The Justin Stanley-trained Terry Tuffnut was second, separating the stablemates.
"It wasn't an overly strong one [race] and the top weight, I didn't like the top one, and I thought Justin's was the danger but that mare [Sweet April Love] ... probably should have won.
"But that's the way racing goes, you've got to travel in the race and that horse has a bit of learning to do but she'll win a race."
Lunn had stated pre-race Dusktilldawn had the better form coming in but added he felt Sweet April Love was the better horse, only vastly less experienced.
He may not have rated the favourite but Ellia was well in contention early on, sitting second behind Jesseira ($31) as the field was strung out early.
Lunn's hope settled well back and while Dusktilldawn ($6.50) found a run in the middle of the pack jockey Billy Cray and Sweet April Love ($51) tacked on to Terry Tuffnut's back and started to skirt around the field as the turn for home approached.
There was still plenty of work to do in the straight but apprentice hoop Clayon Gallagher moved Dusktilldawn into the middle of the track and started urging him on.
Argyllscoot ($26) had briefly threatened but soon began to fade and while Ellia fought on along the rails Dusktilldawn was too strong.
Some April Love, meanwhile, motored home on the extreme outside to finish a length off the winner in third.
Gallagher's winning ride was one of a number of impressive performances in the saddle on Monday.
And while Greg Ryan began the day as a raging favourite in jockey's challenge market, it was Ronald Simpson who was the only jockey to finish with a winning double.
The second of those saw weave in and out of the field in some style to take All Hollywood from well back in the field in the Sam's Waste Management F&M Benchmark 58 Handicap (1100m) to a convincing two-and-a-half length win.