Not for the first time, El Soldado has produced a major form reversal at Ellerslie to have his part-owner and trainer Phillip Devcich eyeing another feature race upset.
The 10-year-old was at fixed odds of 100-1 when he led all of the way to shock his staying rivals in the group two Go Racing Syndications Avondale Cup on yesterday.
His performance showed he was no forlorn hope to go back-to-back in the group one Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup after causing a boilover 12 months ago when he was at better than 120-1 on the tote.
El Soldado was well-rated on Saturday by Sam Collett and the Colombia gelding showed a stubborn streak in the run home by denying Megablast and Mister Impatience.
"That's amazing - he just keeps going, that's the way he runs," Devcich said.
However, he certainly didn't at his previous appearance at Te Rapa at the start of this month when he failed to beat a runner home.
"In the last couple of weeks he's come along a lot," Devcich said.
"I want to give him one more run before the Cup at either Matamata or in the Nathans [at Ellerslie]. I think he's probably better now than he was last year."
Megablast enjoyed a good run throughout and he didn't shirk his task in the run home while Mister Impatience was also solid.
In his first appearance since running third in the group three City of Auckland Cup on New Year's Day, Five To Midnight finished an eye-catching fourth.