THE district's major horse racing cup headed to metropolitan Melbourne on Saturday after a Cranbourne-based trainer and English-born jockey caused a boil over.
Seven-year-old gelding, Mr One Eleven produced a significant form reversal to claim the cluBarham Kerang Cup by half a head from last year's winner, Corporate Takeover.
The Eric Musgrove-trained gelding stayed mid-pack throughout the 1800-metre race before upping his pace in the home straight to pass the Austin Coffey-trained competitor at the post.
The result was the gelding's seventh career victory from 42 starts, with the outsider's previous race resulting in a 16-length loss at Ballarat on March 7.
"It was a perfect race for my horse," successful jockey, Rose Pearson said.
"Free Willy (who finished fourth) held up the pace and it enabled gaps to open up with 600 metres to go.
"That is just the sort of way a stayer like my horse needs."
Billed as one of the strongest fields to take to Alexandra Park for the turf club's marquee race this decade, it was last year's top three placegetters who controlled proceeding early on.
Free Willy – who finished third close to 12 months ago in the same race – led the field past the winning post the first time, with Blue Jangles and Corporate Takeover rounding out the top three.
The trio controlled the pace with 1000 metres to go, before Free Willy fell away and Corporate Takeover hit the front in the home straight.
Gemma Rielly's nine-year-old gelding, Tristram's Sun was third, one and a half lengths behind the top two.
The win was Pearson's second of the day on her first visit to Kerang, with the Mornington-based jockey also prevailing in the Gannawarra Shire Council BM52 Handicap aboard six-year-old mare, Anacott Steel.
"I had a great day at Kerang, I'll definitely be back next year," she said.
Pearson was one of two jockeys to leave Alexandra Park with two wins from the day.
Stan Tsaikos gave the locals something to celebrate, with Kerang-based trainer, John Matheson winning the G and L Concreting Maiden Plate with four-year-old gelding, Jittery Jack in his first start.
Tsaikos rounded out the day with victory in the Bet365 BM58 Handicap with four-year-old mare, A Moving Place.
Other winners on the day were three-year-old filly, Eyes Are Bay in the Walker's IGA Maiden Plate; six-year-old gelding, Hay Handsome in the Universal Farming Services BM58 Handicap; and five-year-old mare, Jocasta in the Halls Timber and Hardware BM64 Handicap.