Lightly raced New Zealand import Almost Court has given trainers Barbara Joseph and Paul Jones their hometown Cup with a bold front-running performance in Canberra.
Christian Reith took Almost Court ($4.80) to the front and didn't look back as he held on to claim the $200,000 Listed Canberra Cup (2000m) on Sunday.
It was the five-year-old gelding's sixth and biggest win since crossing the Tasman to join Joseph and Jones's Canberra stable.
While Almost Court tired in the race's final stages, he dug in to hold off Admiral Jello ($6) by a long head with Get On The Grange ($12) a long neck away third.
"He probably went a little bit keen down the back straight but (Reith) got him back under him at the 1000 till the 400 metres and he was able to kick at the top of the straight," Jones said.
Part-owner Brian Court wanted to avoid New Zealand's wet tracks when he sent the gelding to Australia.
After Court agreed to share the ownership with Joseph and Jones, the trainers syndicated Almost Court to a group of long-term clients and first-time owners.
"There's a crew of 10 blokes who have their first horse and they think the game's that easy," Jones said.
The country Cups circuit beckons for Almost Court, with Albury and Wagga Wagga in his trainers' sights.
"He's really come on in leaps and bounds," Jones said.
"But we'll see what the handicapper does to us."
And Jones had his tongue firmly in cheek when he declared 2000m as Almost Court's distance limit.
"I don't know about the Cox Plate. I don't think he'll run 2040 metres," he said.