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Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators

Veteran Victorian-bred mare Ideal Charm ended a losing sequence of 55 and a 30-month drought when her stand-in trainer Hayden Charles drove her to victory in the $18,500 Allwood Stud Farm Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Ideal Charm, owned by Charles’s father Kevin and mother Annette, was the rank outsider at $86.70 on the tote and $126 on the fixed odds market.

The 39-year-old Hayden Charles was left in charge of the family training establishment while his parents were enjoying a brief holiday in Singapore, and he had the rare distinction of landing a double as the deputy trainer — with Shannon Suvaljko driving $21.60 chance Whos The Dad to victory in the opening event before Ideal Charm was successful in the tenth and final event.

Hayden Charles got Ideal Charm away quickly from barrier No. 3 and the seven-year-old mare slotted into the ideal one-out, one-back position as Suvaljko was setting the pace with the $3.30 chance Twoandahalf Tigers, with the $2.65 favourite Athabascan in the breeze after failing in an early bid for the lead.

Charles switched Ideal Charm three wide with 250m to travel and the mare finished strongly, out wide, to hit the front in the final few strides before holding on to win by a neck from the $6.50 chance Disco Under Fire, who was ninth and last at the 50m mark before flying home, out six wide.

“It was an even field, and I gave Ideal Charm a chance,” said Charles. “We landed in a perfect spot and then she travelled strongly, and I thought she was going to win easily until Disco Under Fire flashed home.

“Ideal Charm impressed me during the week. She usually pulls very hard, and she wears a lot of gear to help cure that problem. We have recently made a change in her training regime and this week we had her settled and were able to work her the way we wanted to. We had been disappointed with her recent unplaced runs on wet tracks. Tonight, she appreciated a dry track.”

Ideal Charm, who boosted her earnings to $74,771 from eight wins and 18 placings from 97 starts, is a half-sister to Art Major geldings Charming Major (120 starts for 18 wins, 37 placings and $103,160) and Montana Chief (144 starts for 20 wins, 50 placings and $159,524).

Ideal Charm’s win revived memories of one of Charles’s early long-shot winners — when he drove Mile High Heat to victory at Northam on July 22, 2006, for owner-trainer Francesco Vitanza.