An unlucky run for third at her last start hinted that Malacanto was ready to head back to the winner's enclosure at short notice and that proved the case when she prevailed in a driving finish to the Red Stag Timber Handicap at Trentham on the weekend.
The Per Incanto mare had looked to as though she could be a star winter performer when she won three of her first 5 starts, the last of those at Otaki in August. Since then the mare had endured a run of outs that finally came to an end on Saturday as she produced a powerful finishing burst to stride clear of her six rivals and notch win number four for trainer, part owner and co-breeder Ian Wyeth.
"I'm very happy with her as she got knocked over two starts ago," he explained after the race.
"She went well at Wanganui last time so we had our fingers crossed today that things would go alright.
"She's an honest horse who is a real toughie. I think we might be back here in two or three weeks' time with her."
Rider Robbie Hannam was at his cheeky best when questioned about the performance as he admitted he was at fault on the mare when beaten at her last run.
"I think you can come out and say I went too soon last time," he grinned.
"It's because I did as I got there too easy. Today she was always going to be hard to beat as she needed that last run and was ready to win.
"She probably lacks a little bit of class but she tries so hard that it will take her a long way."
Runner-up That's Funny also produced an eye-catching performance as she made ground well late in the piece while race favourite Finn battled on well for third in his first run back in a new campaign.