Classy four-year-old Back To A Walk signalled he is on track for an Ascot summer carnival campaign with a tough first-up win at Belmont Park.
Punters took notice of Back To A Walk's sizzling trial win, backing him into $1.65 favouritism in the tabtouch.com.au Handicap (1200m).
The son of Artie Schiller settled second last, with Mia China Doll allowed to lead easily.
Back To A Walk and Little Shadow ($4.8-$4) made their moves from the tail of the field in the straight and soared past Mia China Doll.
Despite a brave effort from Little Shadow, Back To A Walk prevailed by a short half head.
Mia China Doll held on for third, beaten 3/4 of a length.
Back To A Walk improved his record to three wins from five starts, following an impressive three-year-old campaign.
He continued the brilliant form for trainer Gino Poletti and jockey Shaun O'Donnell in the last week.
They combined to win the Kalgoorlie Cup with Classique Ivory and scored a Belmont win with three-year-old Fresco Friar.
Poletti, known for his patience, won't rush Back To A Walk but admits he could progress to the big upcoming features at Ascot.
"I said to Shaun just do what you have to to win the race and he did," Poletti said.
"We always knew it was going to be a fast final 600 metres.
"This isn't his grand final.
"He actually put on weight (after the trial win).
"I gave him a few easy weeks."
Poletti said Back To A Walk reminded him of his top galloper Luckygray, who won the Group 1 Railway Stakes on protest and last year's Group 1 Kingston Town Classic.
"He's similar to Luckygray, but he'd won a couple more at this stage," Poletti said.
"You just go race to race and go through your grades and if they show you they want to go up to the next level, you go there."He probably won't start again for three weeks."