Trainer Dean Howard had a good idea Grand Emperor could be a better than average horse when it won a race in Adelaide last year when he knew the odds were against him.
And his judgment proved to be on the mark when, three starts later, Grand Emperor won Saturday's Premier Signs Plate (1200m) at Caulfield.
"I was halfway to Adelaide with him when I got the results of a blood test from the day before," Howard said.
"The result was no good, but I ran him anyway and he won."
Grand Emperor also went into the Adelaide race after having stood on a nail the day before.
"Taking it all into account, it made me think he had some ability," Howard said.
Grand Emperor ($14) scored by a long neck from Snip The Dancer ($15) with another three-quarters of a length to Chosen Moment ($6) in third.
The win provided an appropriate start to the day for jockey Dwayne Dunn who made the meeting his own with four consecutive wins in the Blue Diamond Stakes from 2005 to 2008.
Dunn had plenty of praise for the winner, although he questioned the wisdom of taking him to next week's Australian Guineas at Flemington.
"He still gets himself wound up and needs to settle down," Dunn said.
"But he's always shown some potential and it's good to see him win a Saturday race because he deserves it."
Howard will consider a Guineas run in which Grand Emperor could take on the star three-year-old All Too Hard.