All Stars pacer Ultimate Sniper again stamped himself as the horse to beat in this year's Interdominion pacing series with an incredible winning performance on night two of the championship.
A tough run three-wide, before eventually making the parked position, proved a minor inconvenience for the 4yr-old, who remained unbeaten in the series in the hands of co-trainer and driver Natalie Rasmussen.
Ultimate Sniper is now the firm favourite for next week's final - an incredible position for a horse that was not even meant to be in the series.
Co-owners Phil and Glenys Kennard revealed after their horse's 1700m that just a matter of days prior to the championship Ultimate Sniper was destined to be in the spelling paddock, rather than in Auckland.
"This series wasn't on the agenda - he was going to go the paddock for two weeks and go to the Auckland Cup," Phil said.
A freshen up after the horse's lack lustre run in the Ashburton Flying Stakes has proven to the catalyst for Ultimate Sniper charging to the top of the Interdominion pacing series.
"We wanted to go in the New Zealand Cup, but he had to do everything right on the way through to the cup," Kennard said.
"But, when he had that wee glitch in the Ashburton Flying Stakes we had to pull the pin."
"And if he had to have stayed for that last ten days of hard work before the second Tuesday in the month."
"Nat said if we back off him we will see how he comes back through it."
Ultimate Sniper did not just again prove he was back on his best on Tuesday, he produced a performance even his owners did not see coming.
"It was just an arrogant display tonight, he has had no favours drawn 7, he was never near the fence going three wide," Kennard said.
"If he had've run fourth or fifth tonight I would have been happy, but he just kept coming."
Ultimate Sniper held out his stablemate Cruz Bromac by a head at the finish.
Though the margin was small, the win was comfortable, Rasmussen said.
"He is just a fighter, he really wants to win for you, give his best, and he still felt good on the line."
"I'm just thrilled with him."
Cruz Bromac was excellent when also working harder than most of his rivals to take second.
Mach Shard took third after showing excellent gate speed to cross the pole-horse San Carlo.
San Carlo battled in to sixth in the run home with fellow Austrailian Bling It On beating him home to finish fifth behind the fourth placed Classie Brigade.
After the completion of Tuesday night's racing Ultimate Sniper was rated the $2.50 favourite for the Interdominion pacing final by bookmakers.
A G's White Socks ($4.50), Cruz Bromac ($5), and Thefixer ($5.50) are rated closely behind him.