Jailbreak cemented his status as one of the favourites for the upcoming Country Championships heat at Coonamble by producing an impressive first-up win at Canterbury on Friday night.
The Kody Nestor-trained four-year-old had to work early in the Agency Real Estate Handicap (1250m) after jumping from wide out but Anthony Cavallo pushed forward and got him to the fence and from there he had the strength to hold on from a fast-finishing field.
The win came in Jailbreak's first start since September of last year but two trials in recent weeks had him fit enough to make it five wins from 16 career starts.
"He had to do a bit of work to do. First-up over 1250 I was a little concerned but he did a good job and held on well," Nestor told Sky Thoroughbred Central after the win.
A comfortable two weeks is ahead for Jailbreak ahead of the $150,000 Western Districts qualifier, a race in which Nestor is expected to have a number of leading contenders.
Cardiff, another potential Country Championships and Kosciuszko runner, also raced on Friday night and finished fourth in the Canterbury Night Sprint Series Final (1100m).
Jailbreak was the big highlight for the Dubbo trainer and his team, and also Cavallo.
Cavallo made the trek to the city track to pilot Jailbreak as he'll also combine with the gelding at Coonamble.
"It's a bloody long drive," Cavallo laughed of heading to Canterbury.
"Kody has got this horse peaking at the right time for the race in Coonamble and he had a couple of nice trials so he was on song for the race.
"I might have pressed the button a bit early but he got there."
Cavallo's hard work early proved to be the winning move as the jockey said Jailbreak was far more comfortable when he was running out in front along the fence.
"I could ... let him start striding a bit further because he's a big striding bugger and he gets unbalanced if you pull him around so once he got to the fence he loved it and moved in at the right time," Cavallo said.