Jimmy Cannon and Darren Keast (left) resist a challenge from Chain Reaction.

An incredibly tough winning effort from Jimmy Cannon saw trainer-driver Darren Keast continue his brilliant recent form, at Nelson on Friday.

The pacer copped plenty of mid-race pressure and looked vulnerable at the top of the straight, but dug deep to break his maiden at Richmond Park.

Keast refused to relinquish the lead when driver Gavin Smith came with a mid-race attack for the top with Khal Drogo.

Jimmy Cannon burned plenty of petrol to hold the front and Keast was left hoping that the horse could keep going for him to at least to save face.

“You look like an absolute spoon when you hold up like that and you drop out.

“I was hoping he would keep going.

“Gavin was on a real roughie and I didn’t really want to hand up to him and we were 1000m out so I thought what was the point in handing up.”

Jimmy Cannon showed grit to hold out the finishes of horses that had enjoyed softer trips that he had and win.

He scored by a nose over runner-up, Chain Reaction, with the favourite, Jay Tee Tyron, five-and-a-half lengths away in third.

Jimmy Cannon came in to Friday’s race after running a big race for seventh in his last start at Addington.

The Sportswriter colt did a power of mid-race work and finished less than three lengths from the winner, Tango Tara.

“I always knew he had an engine, but his manners have let him down.

“It definitely won’t be his last win, I don’t think.

“So long as he stays sound and healthy he should have a couple more in him, anyway.”

Keast produced one other runner at Nelson on Friday with Midas Touch running fifth on debut.

Both of his charges will return to the track for Sunday’s meeting.

“Midas Touch went pretty good I thought, he got caught on the back foot at the start.

“He will be going in a mobile on Sunday and Jimmy Cannon will be running up in grade, too.”

Jimmy Cannon notched Keast’s eighth training win in less than a month after he scored his first with Midnight Sioux at Westport on Boxing Day.

The horseman could only describe the whirlwind start to his training career as unbelievable.

“I came to Nelson and I thought if I ran a couple of placings it would be good.

“The team haven’t let me down yet and it has been absolutely unbelievable.”

Kotare Cullen cruised to a comfortable win in Friday’s feature race, the Nelson Cup Prelude for trainer Robert Dunn and driver John Dunn.

The pacer tracked her stablemate, Tyron’s Better Ella, in to the race before putting a length on her at the finish.

The Dunns had seven hot favourites with bookies before the meeting and managed to win the last three races on the card, Valloria and Huey Lewis their other victors.