The Kiwi’s struck their first blow on harness racing's Hunter Cup night with Our Maxim in the third and final Victoria Derby heat.
Barry Purdon and Zac Butcher combined to upstage favourite Lettucerockthem via the passing lane.
It turned into a race of tactics with Our Maxim utilising his front row draw as he kept working forward to eventually find the top but Luke McCarthy and Lettucerockthem came with to take the front mid-race.
Rather than allowing a speed battle to develop, Butcher eventually relented, handing over the lead to the favourite who was working through a sizzling 28.2sec second quarter of the last mile.
That mid-race pressure might have proved the difference as Our Maxim just pegged back the favourite in the straight to run a mile rate of 1:55.9.
The official margin was a neck by 5.6 metres with Vicbred Super Series winner Major Secret sitting parked for the last lap and putting in a brave performance to make it into the final.
Our Maxim has now taking his earnings to in excess of $215,000 from his 18 starts in what was his fourth win.
by Blake Redden
Harness Racing Victoria