There was a moment at the top of the Randwick straight on Saturday when the thought of winning the Country Championships Final with Amulet Street entered the mind of jockey Hugh Bowman.
Bowman and the Clint Lundholm-trained Amulet Street had sat towards the front of the field throughout the trip in the $500,000 final and at the 300m mark they poked their nose in front.
But the chasing pack was looming and Wagga star Another One was leading the charge.
Nick Heywood and Another One ($8.50) surged along the inside and went on take victory, while Commando Hunt ($9) flew home for second and Amulet Street fought off Far Too Easy ($4.40 favourite) and finished a brave third.
Given Amulet Street entered the final having run second behind fellow Dubbo galloper Great Buy in the Western Racing Association qualifier last month and jumped a $51 chance on Saturday, but Lundholm and Bowman were thrilled with the result.
"Delighted with him," Bowman said post-race.
"Really proud of his effort. Did dare to dream at the 300m. Full credit to the winner."
The result pocketed Lundholm more than $49,000 in prizemoney and marked the second time a Western Racing Association horse had finished third in the final.
The previous placegetter was the Dar Lunn-trained outsider Not For Export, which ran third as a massive $251 outsider in 2017.
While there was excitement for Lundholm on Saturday, it was nothing compared to the feeling being experienced by Another One's trainer, Gary Colvin.
Saturday marked the second successive year he had been to the final, and after watching Another One run second to Art Cadeau in 2021 Saturday was something special.
"He's been easy to train, he's a real athlete," Colvin said, Another One having not run since winning his heat at Wagga on February 19.
"That's why it didn't worry me about the six week break.
"This horse has improved and matured and they were all asking me 'is he better than last year?' well I said 'I think so'. We tried him over a bit of ground and he was going alright, but I think he's a fresh horse, keep him a bit fresh."
Winning jockey Heywood was delighted for Colvin, having been in the saddle 12 months earlier.
Heywood felt he was good enough to win last year and was adamant he'd improved in the 12 months since that second-placed finish.
"He's a better horse this prep and his work at home and everything like that has just been phenomenal. I knew he'd get through the track," Heywood said.
"Full credit to Gary Colvin and his team, they look after this horse like their own son and he paid off for all the owners here today."
For Lundholm, he's now seen Amulet Street finish in the top three in each of his six starts since moving to Dubbo from the stables of James Cummings.
The Brett Robb-trained Great Buy finished a creditable 10th in the final.
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