A DARING front-running ride by Teo Nugent paved the way for Clean Hands to break through for her first career win at Wodonga yesterday.
Trained by David O'Prey, the lightly raced four-year-old mare was only having her third career start when winning the $23,000 Maiden Plate, (1590m).
Nugent pounced on the early lead and opened up a commanding four-length break on the home turn.
Clean Hands ($10) didn't look like stopping in the home straight to win by 1.8-lengths.
The mare had failed to run a place at her previous two starts.
But O'Prey revealed there were excuses.
"She didn't know what she was doing on debut and rattled home to run the fastest last 200m of the day," O'Prey told Racing.com
"So that indicated to me that there was some ability there.
"We went to Wangaratta for her next start and she just didn't handle the heavy (9) on the day.
"She had been working well but the tactics to lead were a bit of a surprise.
"But she was obviously fit enough to run the mile out."
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O'Prey felt Clean Hands could progress through the grades quickly after her confidence boosting win.
"She is a nice, big, progressive horse," he said.
"Her best racing pattern is still a bit of an unknown because she is still only lightly raced.
"But she is a big striding horse and going to the front today worked out all right.
"I was lucky enough to get this horse off Craig Widdison and there is a large contingent of owners in the horse."