The stunning tactics that delivered harness racing's new pin-up pacer were anything but planned.
In fact driver Mark Purdon admits what looked like ice cool patience with Akuta on his way to a IRT Harness Jewels demolition yesterday were born from fear.
Purdon appeared to pull back to last on the $1.20 favourite, an almost unheard of tactic to win a major juvenile pacing race, before the gelding tracked into the race and then unleashed a 10-length demolition to light up the Cambridge gloom.
It was one of the easiest and yet most dramatic group one victories of any equine code in years in this country but what ended so epic started with a near disaster for punters.
"The reason I ended up back there was because he nearly galloped straight after the start," explained Purdon.
"I meant to go forward off the gate [at the start] and get handy but because I had never tried to begin that fast on him he almost rolled into a gallop.
"So I just grabbed hold of him and then by the time I felt confident he was fine we were back to last.
"I looked up and thought, okay, we're in trouble now."
Trouble morphed into triumph after Akuta got half a cart into the race before the 400m mark, from where it looked like he was shot out of a giant slingshot, coming off the final bend so fast his legs hardly knew where to land. A few seconds later he was 10 lengths clear and harness racing had a new superstar.
"That was special, he might be a special horse," said Purdon, who has driven more special horses than anybody in New Zealand history.
"The last time I won a big race that easily was Lazarus in the New Zealand Cup but he led that day.
"Young horses rarely even try to win like that."
Akuta was one of three winners on the Jewels for young trainer Hayden Cullen, who runs New Zealand's biggest harness stable these days with plenty of help from Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen.
While Cullen and Akuta take took top billing on the all group-one day there was stiff competition from Tony Herlihy, who trained and drove Double Delight and Bolt For Brilliance to win their respective trotting Jewels, both from seemingly horror draws.
Herlihy's drive on Bolt For Brilliance won him the race, securing tactical advantage early over key rival Muscle Mountain but Bolt For Brilliance was still supreme with the promise he may be even better in the seasons to come.
Bettor Twist provided the early spark to the day with a remarkable win in the three-year-old fillies pace, refusing to yield even through she was wide the entire race while a late change of tactics saw B D Joe lead and hold off a no-excuses Krug in the three-year-old male pace.
Five Wise Men was simply too good in the three-year-old trot to complete a totally dominant season while South Coast Arden's late-season resurgence continued with a bullying victory in the four-year-old male pace for trainer Brent Mangos.
Breeding and syndication giant Breckon Farms had a monster day as did champion sire Bettors Delight, who not only sired five winners, including Need You Now and A Better You, but is also the damsire of trot winner Double Delight, who is actually bred to pace.