Island Banner showed no signs of rust from a seven month racing absence on her path to victory at Bathurst Paceway during Wednesday night's meeting.
The Craig Cross-trained Island Banner ($1.60 favourite) was well backed by punters for the Best Of The Bush Heat (1730 metres) given the strong form she had showed at the top level during her three-year-old season.
The mare had finished fourth in the Group 1 Three-year-old Fillies Breeders Challenge Final at Menangle and followed that up with a third in the regional decider at Bathurst in June.
Island Banner didn't return to the track until the first of two trials in mid-February but has come back looking better than ever, clocking a new personal best 1:55.5 mile rate on her way to a comfortable five metre victory in Wednesday's race.
It didn't take long for Island Banner to hit the lead when the gates folded back, although she had to use a little bit of extra effort to see off Wandary Muscat to her inside.
Blackwhitenandblue was stuck three wide through the opening turn before he landed the death seat.
Masterchief had attempted to trail up behind Blackwhiteandblue but was caught three wide with no cover as the field went onto the back straight.
Island Banner was able to pinch a cosy 31.4 second quarter and when she raised the tempo on the turn for home it broke the hearts of many opponents.
Luke McCarthy looked relaxed in the driver's seat as a couple of nudges sent Island Banner into the next gear.
Neil Day's Blackwhiteandblue ($7.50) never faded away from Island Banner in a strong run for second.
Hit The Track ($19, Nathan Turnbull) broke away from the pack to run third.
McCarthy hopes the win will be a sign of things to come on Miracle Mile night this Saturday.
He has six Group 1 drives on Saturday night including Chase Auckland in the million dollar feature event.
"She was going really good late last year. That was a good effort and a big win tonight," he said of Island Banner.
"I've got a lot of good drives on Saturday night so hopefully we can get a bit of luck and come home with one of the big ones."
McCarthy's only other drive on Wednesday was on Cross' Admiral Bronski who finished a disappointing sixth in the Ladies Night 27th March Pace (1,730m).
Victories in the nine races at Bathurst were spread out across eight different trainers, with Georges Plains' Bernie Hewitt the only one to double up (Mackeral, Make Mine Heaven).
The next meeting at Bathurst Paceway will be on Monday.