Ima Heroine showed amazing stamina to charge past a battery of runners and reel in leader Fair King to win the Rodd and Gunn Great Northern Steeplechase at Ellerslie yesterday.
The Anne Browne-trained 10-year-old, ridden patiently by regular hoop Matthew Gillies, still had half a dozen runners in front of her approaching the last fence, where former winner Fair King had accumulated what looked like a winning break.
But the 6400m and 25 jumps had taken its toll on the 2009 winner, and within the shadows of the post Ima Heroine burst past as early leader Myths And Legend, and a brave Hypnotize, vying for his record fourth win in the race, claimed the minor placings.
Fair King finished fourth.
It was Ima Heroine's third win - all at Ellerslie - with her second coming only last month in the Mad Butcher Pakuranga Hunt Cup.
Indeed last month's Pakuranga Hunt meeting also provided the perfect form guide for the Great Northern Hurdles as Southern Countess and Seeking the Silver provided the quinella once again, in the feature race over the brushes.
Southern Countess dictated terms and the pair had gone clear of the pack with two flights to go but the Peter Brosnan trained mare found a little extra and pulled away after the final jump. Favourite Solid Steal plodded on to claim third.