Rogan Norvall's tenacity was rewarded on Friday when he celebrated a well-deserved return to the winner's stall.
His blood, sweat and tears approach to his profession earned him victory aboard the Andrew Meikle-trained Itsabird at Te Aroha to complete his comeback from serious injury.
Ironically, it had been on the same course nearly a year ago that an incident in the barrier left Norvall with fractures of the tibia and fibia bones and he also had a break higher up the leg.
"The course owed me and it's a debt repaid now," Norvall said. "I'm more relieved than thrilled and hopefully this win gets everything back on the road.
"I've had good people around me and there's been a lot of gym work and my physio has been very, very good.
"There's been a few bumps along the way, but we all worked together. I've had a lot of support from a lot of people and for that I am very, very grateful.
"I'm walking without a limp now, running is still a question mark, but it was before I had the injury!"
The 40-year-old rode his first New Zealand winner in the 2002-03 season after arriving from his native Zimbabwe.
His career highlights include three Group One victories aboard Veyron for his good friend and loyal supporter, Cambridge trainer Linda Laing.