WHEN jockey Ken Dunbar saw that Attilius had drawn barrier one for the Benchmark 66 Handicap at Goulburn on Monday, he thought their chances had been cruelled.
But trainer Bathurst Paul Theobald was more confident his runner could still get the job done in the 1,400 metres contest.
As it turned out, that confidence was well placed as his seven-year-old grey gelding held on to win by a head.
"When Kenny saw the gate he said to me 'Paul, I think our chances have gone to hell.' But I told him to just get out on the pace," Theobald said.
"I told him that he'd ping the lids because I'd freshened him up.
"He looked a spent horse at about 200 out, but what happened was another horse loomed outside him and Kenny just lifted him again.
"Kenny really rode him a treat."
Having run fourth at Goulburn in early July before notching up a win over 1,308 metres at Tyers Park, Attilius started Monday's race as the $7 second elect.
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As predicted he started brilliantly to head the field early before $4.60 favourite Ultraviolet punched forward to take the lead at the first bend.
With 400m to go the favourite led by a length and down the home straight it appeared as if Attilius' bid for back-to-back wins for just the second time in his career would fall short.
But he kicked again and went on to post a tough win ahead of Citizen's Arrest ($7) while Ultraviolet had to settle for third.
"The last time a Bathurst trainer won here was nine years ago ... it was me and it was Dragon's Keep, he won when he went there as a three-year-old," Theobald said.
"I ran second there one day with All Sixes since then, that was the best I'd done there before Monday."
The next assignment for Theobald's Murtajill x She's A Mountain gelding will be a 1,400m race Bathurst on August 26 before he is aimed at the $50,000 Showcase Picnic Championship (1,400m) at Dubbo on September 15.
"You've got to build the points up to qualify for that race at Dubbo - it's the picnic's version of The Everest," Theobald said. "I got the points up really early."