There's few things Alison Smith enjoys more than a win for Panuara.
The stable favourite delivered again on Friday, much to the delight of the Orange trainer.
Panuara might have been up in the weights, dealing with a wide draw, and racing on a heavy track for the first time but it mattered little.
The gutsy seven-year-old showed the kind of short-distance performances racegoers have become accustomed to when taking out the Sunset Bistro Benchmark 66 Handicap (1000m) at Dubbo Turf Club.
"He's as honest as the day is long," Smith said post-race.
"He's a bit of a stable favourite with everyone at the track there [at Orange]. He's just got a gorgeous nature."
A highly-rated sprinter, Panuara has become hard to place for Smith so she kept her options open by nominating the seven-year-old for various meetings during the week.
One of those was Saturday's provincial meeting at Hawkesbury but she opted for Dubbo and the familiarity of Anthony Cavallo in the saddle.
He's a bit of a stable favourite with everyone at the track there [at Orange]. He's just got a gorgeous nature.Alison Smith on the victorious Panuara
Friday's win was Panuara's fifth from 25 career starts and four of those have been delivered by Cavallo.
"He had a few negatives like the wide draw and the bigger weight and normally we wouldn't back him up in such a short time after having a long trek to Wagga last week but there's not a lot of options," Smith said, Panuara having run second there last Friday.
"It was either this or he stays in his box for another five weeks so I knew 'Choc' (Cavallo) wouldn't knock him around if he thought he couldn't win it so that's why we decided to come."
Panuara was given 61.5kg for Friday's race but Smith didn't give much thought to putting an apprentice onboard as she'd seen her sprinter carry 61kg to victory in the past.
The weight appeared to be no issue as Panuara ($4.40 favourite) surged to the front in the final couple of hundred metres after sitting third for much of the trip.
The race was also Panuara's first on a heavy surface, it had been downgraded from a heavy 10 early to a heavy 8 on Friday, but he had won on a soft track in the past.
The Bernie Kelly-trained Atum (Rory Hutchings, $10) had led for much of the journey from Rogue Runner (Clayton Gallagher, $7) but the latter was squeezed out in the straight as he found no room between the leader and Panuara.
Smith's hope got to the front and held on to win by a head from the flying Fine Hero ($13) while the Gayna Williams-trained Miss Hugo A Gogo ($4.60) also finished well and claimed third.
A step up in distance is now likely after Panuara hit the line well in the victory.
Kody Nestor's Country Championships hopeful Toulon Brook was seventh.
DO YOU WANT MORE ORANGE SPORT?
- Receive our free newsletters delivered to your inbox, as well as breaking news alerts. Sign up below ...