Matt Cumani is on the brink of a career-best season.
The Ballarat trainer closed within three wins of his career-high 54 from 2018-19 with dour stayer Sasko ($21) after he led all the way in the Rogan Josh Stayers Trophy, 2500m, at Flemington on Saturday.
'This is a hugely satisfying win," Cumani said.
"I'm absolutely delighted for the horse. He's such a champ and this was the way to do it - making it a gruelling test. That's what the horse wants.
"He loves it soft and he just gets through it, making it hard for the other horses. The wetter the better for him," he said. "There's some similar races coming up. We'll just keep going."
Jockey Michael Poy said the instructions were to roll along in front, don't fight him.
"That's exactly what we did. We eased in front and he never pulled for me. 800m from home I gave him a slap down the shoulder because he kind of forgot he was in a race. He was out there for a good day and that's the best way to ride him.
"He was tough, he was strong through the line. He'll stay all day this horse," Poy said.
Sasko was originally trained by Tony and Calvin McEvoy and has now won two of five outings for Cumani, with the 5yo going to Flemington off a win in the heavy over 2500m at Warrnambool.
Sasko also capped off a big week for Cumani, who had two doubles in Ballarat within three days.
Cumani is in his fifth season as a trainer and this is the third one straight he has topped 50 wins.