An unfancied debutante boosted stable spirits when she made the perfect start to her career at Wanganui.
Loch Ness delivered a much-needed victory on Saturday for local trainers Evan and J.J. Rayner and owners Stephen and Joanne Gudsell in the Wanganui Steelformers Maiden 1340.
The quartet have endured a frustrating time at the Queensland winter carnival and the latest news from Evan Rayner, who arrived home on Friday night, was even worse.
"After Start Wondering's last gallop we had him scoped and he's got a bit of a virus so he's coming home," he said.
Start Wondering, whose stablemate Flying Fred was well-beaten at Ipswich midweek, failed to handle two heavy tracks when unplaced in both the Gr.1 Doomben 10,000 and the Gr.1 Kingsford-Smith Cup.
However, Loch Ness boosted fortunes with a tidy performance under Johnathan Parkes at the first time of asking to roll home at odds of 16-1.
"There's not much of her, but she's showed a bit of ability and Johnathan has always said she goes well," Rayner said.
Loch Ness settled midfield on the fence and, once into the clear, the three-year-old finished too well for So It Was, another first-timer.
"We got a nice run in behind them and didn't spend a penny and the runs came at the right time," Parkes said.
By Keeper, Loch Ness is out of the Zabeel mare Harmony who is also the dam of the winner and Listed Wanganui Guineas placegetter Perfect Harmonee.