ZOO Station has been improving one place at a time for Bathurst trainer Gayna Williams, culminating in Monday's success at Wellington.
Williams was lining up Zoo Station ($2.25 favourite) in the Maiden Handicap (1,400 metres, Kath Bell-Pitomac) hoping to build upon her previous third and second placings at Dubbo and Bathurst respectively.
The four-year-old Animal Kingdom mare flashed home late in her typical style to get the nod over Tariff Trump ($5.50, Brodie Loy) and Urus ($3.10, Rachael Murray).
Williams said it's been a long road back to racing for the mare, who came across from the Gerald Ryan stables last year.
"She was in and out with Gerald as a two-year-old and she had a few immaturity issues. She kept going a little sore at times. She had a few preparations down there and didn't do much so the owners gave her five months off at Allandale Park with Claire Todd," she said.
"They asked for a country trainer and we were lucky enough that Claire recommended the owners send her to us, which we were very grateful for.
"She came to us big in condition but she'd been out for a while. She's a beautiful, big, strong mare who's been very good this prep. She's gone from strength to strength.
"Breeding suggests she'll get further. Kath Bell-Pitomac, who rode her, commented that she had no trouble running out the 1,400m. We were confident that she shouldn't have too much trouble with that."
Zoo Station had to work wide around the chasing duo of Spritza Seritza and My Beau if she was to mount a challenge against the front runners.
Over the final 200 metre stretch Zoo Station brought them back with every stride, as jockey Kath Bell-Pitomac timed her run to perfection to win by half a length.
Tariff Trump edged out Urus in the photo for second.
The other Bathurst-trained horse in the race, Wanda Ings' Noble Banner, was fourth.