THERE'S been plenty of bumps along the road, but Elmore trainer Keith Cotchin is hopeful of smoother times ahead with his promising three-year-old Betternbetter.
The smart gelding has been besiged with problems throughout his short racing career, but appeared to be back to something like his best with a dominant win in the Happy 6th Birthday Emily Hayes Pace (2190m) at Maryborough on Wednesday.
Chief among the issues which have plagued the son of Cee Cee Sheffield and Christina Cullen was a near-fatal colic attack last year.
That he is still healthy and winning races is testament to all of his trainer's patience and love for the horse, the gelding's toughness and the great work from the team at the Bendigo Equine Centre, who saved Betternbetter.
"We have had a few problems with him, that's for sure, but hopefully we are back on track now," Cotchin said.
"He had the big colic operation and then he came back and had a few runs, but we were not sure what was going wrong.
"He won his first two starts when we brought him back and then we ran him in the heat of the (Victoria) Derby at Ballarat, where he over-raced and was making a few noises.
"We couldn't find anything wrong with him and we gave him another run and wasn't too impressive.
"We did all these tests on him, but nothing showed up, so we have put a collar underneath his jaw to stop him arching his neck and that seems to have made a difference.
"Hopefully we have sorted it out. He had his first run back the other night and got beat (at Geelong), but we think he switched off a bit. Today (Wednesday) he was very sharp."
The gelding was rarely troubled throughout the run following a brilliant front-running drive from Greg Sugars.
Cotchin said the gelding would next target the $25,000 Reg Withers Classic for three-year-olds at Kilmore on May 10
"There isn't a lot of races from him down in town at the moment, but the three-year-old classic at Kilmore looks a good option and then the Sires kicks off after that, which we will look at, all being well," he said.
Meanwhile, a change of trainer has worked wonders for young mare Raptover A Rainbow, who broke through for a debut win at race start number five.
The four-year-old is now under the care of Bendigo's Shaun McNaulty after formerly being trained by Matthew Craven.
Raptover A Rainbow was having her first start since a second-place effort at Mount Gambier on January 19 and was driven by Bendigo's Chris Svanosio.