Gavin Groth enjoyed a winning homecoming when racing returned to Riverside Racecourse on Saturday.
Back on his home track for the first time in over three months, the Gunnedah trainer didn't have to wait long to have reason to celebrate with Epic Decision taking out the first race of the day - the Collygra Bracelet Trophy Handicap.
Groth always thought the six-year old "would run competitively". His only concern was the weight, the gelding having never carried 69kg before.
But it didn't seem to hamper him, with Epic Decision leading virtually all the way to salute by almost two-and-a-half lengths.
His first win since December last year, which was incidentally also at Gunnedah, Saturday was more to give him a run, with Groth eyeing off a 1200m race in Tamworth in a couple of weeks.
"He just needed to have a run between his Moree run and the Tamworth run because he would have gone five weeks without a run again and they get away on you," he said.
Twelve months after taking out the Wean Cup, About Time then almost got home in the feature Bold Karioi Picnic Cup, the Michelle Fleming-trained St Luke holding on to win by a long neck.
"He was unlucky. Jock (jockey) said if he had of got a run half-way down the straight he probably would have won," Groth said.
After watching the replay, he was of the same view, the nine-year old just getting boxed in and unable to get a clear run until probably the last 100m.
"[But] At the end of the day it was a race we set him for and he turned up. What we're doing's working so that's a positive out of it," he said.
Groth's other runner in the race Bring The Joy certainly didn't bring any joy though. She finished sixth and was "very disappointing".
Out of form, he was hoping a start on her home track might "spark her".
"She sort of put herself in the race at the top of the straight and didn't go on with it," he said.
She'll go for a spell now possibly to return in the warmer months.
"Some mares I've seen don't like the winter, don't like the cold," Groth said.
"It's a hormonal thing, don't ask me why."
Her form supports that theory.
"In all the time I've had her, the success I've had with her has been in the summer or the spring," he said.
He said it was great to be back racing at Gunnedah with the club having several meetings transferred away amid the COVID restrictions.
"It was really nice and hopefully it will go on from here," he said.
On Monday he took Jazzee Up and Bard's Voice to Wellington.
Having his first start, Jazzee Up "missed the kick" and finished back in 11th.
"I'm disappointed but I'm not worried because it's his first race start and I've trained all his brothers and sisters and they're all similar so he'll be better down the track over a bit more ground," Groth said.
Much like Bring The Joy, Bard's Voice was however "downright disappointing".
"He was in the market and he was in a race that he should have placed," he said.
"In his defence he didn't have an easy run, he was hunted from start to finish, but I still thought he was disappointing."