The powerful Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman training partnership continued their inexorable march to a second National Trainer's Premiership when they nabbed a winning double at Te Rapa on Saturday.
Promising stayer Victory Drive completed his own double at the venue when he delivered in fine style in a rating 85 2100 metre contest before Tomelilla downed a competitive line-up of rating 75 gallopers over 1600 metres later in the day.
It was an eye-catching return to winning form for Tomelilla who has been plagued by niggling foot issues over the past year.
"She is a promising type but we've had an interrupted run with her due to a few problems with her feet," admitted Forsman.
"She seems to have come right and was always going to be a big improver off her last run where she finished a nice fourth at Ellerslie.
"I thought it was a good effort to get the win on Saturday as it was a handy line-up and she was wide for a fair part of the early stages of the race.
"She has a nice turn of foot and showed plenty of grit to hold them off. At this stage, she seems suited to a mile so we will look around and see what else is coming up over the next few weeks."
Forsman was also taken by the run of Victory Drive who looks set to make his presence felt in the staying ranks in the future.
"We were confident he could back up after his win last week as he dropped to a nice position in the weights through the grade rise," he said.
"I think the key was the speed in the race as with the pace on he settled nicely and had a good economical trip.
"He's a horse that won't be out of place in the better grades as they tend to run along a bit which is what he needs."
The winning double extended the partnership's lead in the Premiership race as they now sit 16 clear of nearest rivals, the Te Akau pair of Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards, with 89 wins for the season to date. The Cambridge conditioners nabbed their inaugural title in the 2014/15 season before finishing runner-up to Autridge & Richards last year.
Baker and Forsman will look to add to their 19 "black type" victories for the season at Rotorua next Saturday with Show The World a candidate for the Gr. 3 Campbell Infrastructure Rotorua Cup while Honey Rider and Bonniegirl are set to contest the Gr. 3 Classic Cuisine Rotorua Stakes. Lightly raced three-year-old filly Love Affair is another possible Rotorua Stakes contender but will only start if she strikes a favourable firm track surface.