The Chosen One's demolition job in the $220,000 Thorndon Mile at Trentham today was not even close to being one of the biggest wins of Murray Baker's training career, but it was one of the most satisfying.
Baker and training partner Andrew Forsman produced New Zealand's best stayer fresh-up to smash elite milers in a dazzling display under comeback jockey Matt Cameron.
Settling just off the speed, The Chosen One jogged to the lead at the 250m and exploded clear, beating Coventina Bay and Mali Ston.
It was The Chosen One's first Group 1 victory, with most of his racing in the past two years being at the highest level in Australia, including two huge Melbourne Cup efforts for a fourth and fifth, a Caulfield Cup third and second in the Sydney Cup.
So to win at a distance well short of his best in his first start since the Melbourne Cup in early November was a testament to the master trainers' skills.
"We didn't do a lot with him, just kept him fresh and happy," said Baker, who snared his 56th career Group 1 winner, 34 of them in New Zealand. "So that part was very satisfying and a Group1 gives him a shot at a stud career here.
"He deserves that shot because he is a very good horse by a champion stallion in Savabeel from a great New Zealand family. So we are thrilled for the owners."
The Chosen One will now head to the Herbie Dyke Stakes at Te Rapa on February 12, when he is likely to meet the majority of the favourites from today's race. The Chosen One is now the $2.50 favourite for that Group 1 over 2000m.
The win was also the highlight of Cameron's return to the saddle after he took time away from riding, fittingly with the trainers who have provided so many of his biggest wins in the past five years.
While Baker-Forsman produced the training performance of the day, they were pushed close by another Cambridge stable when Stephen Marsh trained the quinella in the Wellington Cup with Lincoln King and Starrybeel.
The pair maintained strong gallops wide from the top of the straight to surge clear in the last 100m, Lincoln King going one better than when he finished second in the New Zealand Cup over 3200m last season.
His win capped a great day for jockey Craig Grylls, who won three races, including the Desert Gold Stakes on La Crique, and claimed second in the mile on Coventina Bay.
His treble also took him to a clear lead in the New Zealand jockeys' premiership, for which he is now favourite.
The star of his treble was La Crique, who was stunning in the Group 3 fillies' race. La Crique looks a contender for whichever of the New Zealand Derby or New Zealand Oaks her trainers Katrina and Simon Alexander decide to aim her at.