A gear change and a rain-affected track have proven the right formula for Detonator Jack.
He had to settle for the minor prize in two lucrative races, but Detonator Jack has finally had his moment in the sun, responding to the addition of blinkers with a dominant win in the $1 million The Gong at Kembla Grange.
Trainer Ciaron Maher made the gear change after the gelding finished runner-up to Palmetto in the $1 million Five Diamonds Prelude (1500m) then third behind Unspoken in the $2 million Five Diamonds (1800m).
While happy the horse was racing well, Maher hoped the blinkers might give him a winning edge and they had the desired result.
"He just hit that little flat spot last start and when we were coming back in trip, we thought it might have been the ideal time to put them on," Maher said.
"You could see during the run he travelled sweet for Jase (Collett), beautiful ride.
"He has always threatened to win a big one this horse, and he's been very close his last couple and has had a fantastic prep."
While The Ingham is a logical target for Detonator Jack, Maher says the horse is raced by a Ballarat-based ownership group who are keen to target their local Cup.
Both the $2 million The Ingham (1600m) and the $500,000 Ballarat Cup (2000m) are on the same afternoon, December 9.
"The owners were keen for the Ballarat Cup, but it will be a debate," Maher said.
Collett had ridden Detonator Jack at his past three starts and felt the combination of blinkers and a rain-affected track made a significant difference.
"Probably a bit of both. The addition of the hood definitely helped from Ciaron and the team, but probably the soft ground as well," Collett said.
"I had a good run in transit and when I needed him to quicken, he did today, whereas the last couple of starts he hasn't been as sharp and hasn't been able to do so.
"Today it felt like I had control a long way out."
The favourite made late headway after travelling back in the field and wide, with Chris Waller's stable representative Charlie Duckworth saying Osipenko's effort was solid but the result disappointing.
"You come to any race as a favourite and you're hopeful you can go out and win your race, but he got a long way back on a track he's not favoured on," Duckworth said.
"He ran well without blowing the doors off. That was a pass mark today."