Canberra trainer Doug Gorrel was tempted by the Federal, but wisely opted for an easier kill.
And Exaggerate didn't let him down, winning the benchmark 60 handicap (1000 metres) by half a length at Queanbeyan on Thursday.
The eight-year-old gelding, ridden by Jess Del Frari, got out to a fast start and trailed Revolve before he took over at the 400m mark.
From there Exaggerate held firm, holding off the fast-finishing Deviate, and Todd Smart's Fantini, who finished third.
Gorrel said he was tempted to put Exaggerate in the Federal (1200m), which was won by Garry Kirkup's Hezredhot.
"I thought this was a really good race for him. It wasn't a really super strong benchmark 60 race. I think that was his race," Gorrel said.
"He's such a gutsy strong horse. He'll try and he'll go close in harder races. But when you find something that looks right, he is right in it to his ears. Thankfully that's how it panned out.
"He's such a lovely horse to deal with. Lovely horse to have around the stable. Lovely ride. He's a strong horse and a beautiful animal, and thankfully he likes to race."
Exaggerate's win caps off a strong run of form with three-second place finishes and one third in his previous four races.
Wednesday's meet marked the last time Canberra-based trainer Gorrel would have his home-track races run at Queanbeyan, with racing returning to Canberra for Melbourne Cup Day.
'It's going to be terrific. Until they take your home ground out of play you forget how easy it is, and how your horses know the place," he said.
"A lot of people say that a home track advantage can be the difference of a length or two, and I'm starting to think that is the case.
"We've had to travel and we've had some horse working really well, but if they're always going down the mountain or out west it is going to take a length or two off them. It's been really painful not having our home track open. It'll be an absolute joy to be back there."
Gorrel will assess his horses after the dust settles, but he was hoping to get at least one runner at Thoroughbred Park for that first meet back in Canberra on November 2.
"I'll have something there, but I don't know what yet. We'll see how the horses pull up in a week or two. We always like to try and get a runner on Melbourne Cup Day if we can," Gorrel said.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: