Albury trainer Donna Scott might need an annual booking for The Championships at Royal Randwick, after locking up a spot in the $500,000 Country Championships Final in April for the fourth straight year.
Lightly-raced outsider Bautista and comeback jockey John Kissick booked the stable's ticket this time after a big finish saw them come within a whisker of a boilover.
They were narrowly beaten by Another One, after just passing Norm Loy's longshot Takissacod, which also ran an enormous race.
"It was a super finish. I've been saying all week if there was some give in the track it would be a different story (for Bautista)," Scott said.
"We go to Sydney now and it's been wet up there all summer.
"Hopefully it can be wet when we get up there.
"I felt a bit sick before the race. When you've got so many in, you hope someone does something and Bautista was good enough to get the job done."
At just his seventh race start, and first up since November, Bautista came with a big finish.
Only Another One's was better.
"I actually thought I was the winner at the 100," Kissick said.
"My horse was really having a crack and putting his head down.
"I knew I had the ones on the inside covered, I wasn't sure about the outside but, yeah, Another One got me right on on the line.
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"We got beaten by a pretty good horse on the day but Bautista was first-up today.
"Donna had him spot on. It's a big effort to have him run like that first up over 1400, in a big race, so she's done well.
"He went super."
It's less than a year since Kissick returned to riding after almost four years out with a serious back injury following an horrific steer-riding accident.
After just days after being given the all clear to race after the Victorian border closure.
"I feel great now. The back's pretty good. I've just got to do the right think and look after it," he said.
Playing a huge part in a thrilling finish to the day capped a big meeting for the three-time SDRA premiership winner.
Kissick had already had three minor placings earlier, as well as a win on Matt Dale's debutant Fourmadec which also charged home late in the $40,000 Showcase maiden over 1200m
It was Kissick's sixth winner in the last five weeks.
In the Qualifier, Donna Scott's Halo Warrior and Oamanikka finished sixth and seventh, while 100-1 shot Gottaluvtrucks was 10th. She said Oamanikka had come to the end of a tough prep and will go for a spell.
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