EMPATHY broke a string of home town wins when the Scone gelding won Saturday's $12,000 Petals Florist Network Class 1 Handicap (1000m) at Tamworth.
The first five races on the Tamworth Jockey Club's Ladies Day meeting had been won by Tamworth-trained horses but Empathy showed no sympathy when the Brett Cavanough-mentored three-year-old gelding held on for a determined victory.
Luke Cumberland was the winning rider and was confident throughout.
"I thought he was the winner straightening up but, half way down the straight, I wasn't too sure," he said of a gelding who was under siege from placegetters Hey Dude and Just A Dame.
Empathy found something though to stop the clock at 57.18 seconds with a long head win from Hey Dude and a short neck back to Just A Dame.
Cavanough thought Empathy was a good chance.
"He was first up, wound up and ready to go," the Scone trainer said.
Empathy is having his second preparation at Cavanough's Scone stable.
"Last time in, he won a maiden then went lame," he said.
"He's a well-bred horse."
He said he will "pick a weak little race somewhere next for Empathy," who he describes as a "nice little horse, a kids' pony".
Empathy's triumph was Cavaough's 26th for the Hunter and North West Racing Association season, 21 behind trainer's premiership leader Kris Lees and one ahead of Tamworth's Sue Grills, who celebrated a winning double at Tamworth with My Benalla and Hammoon Dancer.
Hammoon Dancer was also apprentice Yvette Lewis's first winner at her first ride!
HNWRA Trainers' Premiership: Kris Lees 47, Brett Cavanough 26, Sue Grills 25, Stirling Osland 19, Cody Morgan 18, Paul Perry 16