Pukekohe's Maxim lived up to the favourite's tag in its debut on grass to romp home in the $10,000 Ag Challenge Ltd Wanganui Cup at the racecourse yesterday afternoon.
The former Victoria Derby winner has now stamped the authority on a comeback from breaking down as a three-year-old - having completed a long a patient rehabilitation with trainer and driver Brent Mangos.
While this year's feature race got away to a clean start first time, there was disappointment for driver Jay Abernethy and Bulls trainer Doug Gale as Franco Lennox blew it and was out of the running immediately.
The stables other hope in Brainstormer (Sailesh Abernathy) held the lead in the first run past the post in the 2650m handicap, followed on the inside by Waiuku's Full Speed Ahead (Todd Mitchell) and rapidly improving second favourite Everything (Nicky Chilcott).
The favourites were looking to get into the passing lanes quickly on the trip to the back stretch, as Maxim immediately made the move up to take over.
As the pace quickened heading down the final turn and the field spread out, Everything was hanging on with Maxim, while Raglan's Fleeting Grin (Peter Ferguson) and Cambridge's Beyond the Silence (Lyn Neal) were coming up strong.
But none could haul in the four-year-old former Group 1 winner, who cantered across to win by a length in Maxim's first race on grass.
The victory was no doubt a delight to Maxim's large group of owners, which includes two syndicates, and anyone who put some safe money on the $1.40 favourite.
Elsewhere on the eight race card, the $6000 Ala Mountains Scientific Nutrition Mobile Pace over 1800m was very intense and won by Hunterville's Bobbie's Girl (Scott Dickson).