AS Akuma's rivals queued up behind him at the top of the home straight at the Bathurst Paceway on Friday night, Amanda Turnbull was not sure if he would hold them off.
But the star driver went from doubting and hoping to smiling as the three-year-old had enough left in his legs to take the honours in the TAB Odds and Evens Pace (1,730 metres).
"Not really," Turnbull admitted when asked if she felt the gelding trained by her father Steve Turnbull would hold on.
"He can be a little bit weak, but the field wasn't overly strong so I was just hoping to outlast them."
Having finished more than 22m off the pace five days earlier at Bathurst, Akuma was rated an $8 chance for Friday's race.
But from barrier three Turnbull, who was driving the Sunshine Beach x Ima Pleasure gelding for the first time, punched on to cross and take the lead.
Once in front Akuma was never headed.
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He led by 5m over Feeling Hall Good on the bell and while the moves came behind him - No Nay Never peeling out and making his charge at the 400m mark - Akuma maintained a good tempo.
Though the 3m advantage he had held after balancing at the top of the straight was whittled away, he made it two wins from eight career starts as he finished 1.3m ahead of No Nay Never ($6.50).
"It sort of surprised me a little bit, but he's a big fella and likes rolling along a bit," Turnbull said of the 1:57.9 winning mile rate.
"He was strong enough to hold them off."