Innes has done it tough over the extended COVID lockdown in the Auckland area which precluded him making any raceday appearances until the special meeting that was held at Pukekohe on November 11, where he piloted Demonetization to a comfortable victory in an open 1400m contest.
Having relocated to Cambridge in the last week, Innes was free to take the mount on the Nigel Tiley-trained seven-year-old at Te Aroha and took his record to four wins and three placings from just 10 rides on the son of All Too Hard.
Innes made good use of the inside gate to have Demonetization trailing pacemaker The Mitigator throughout before angling into the clear to make his bid for victory at the top of the straight.
Demonetization shot to the front and with Innes keeping him up to the mark he held out the challenges of Hypnos and topweight Royal Performer to take the win.
Tiley watched the race from a comfortable bean bag in his lounge at Pukekohe due to the ongoing travel restrictions and was delighted with what he saw.
"He is in the zone at the moment and has really turned the corner since his win at Pukekohe," he said.
"I did think he could win today, although as the track started to firm up I had a few worries, as he is at his best when he can get his toe in a little.
"I thought Leith rode him a treat as we didn't really speak about tactics before the race, but when I saw him in the trail and lobbing along, I was pretty happy.
"He got to the front a touch early and is a better chaser than a leader, but when he is in front it takes a smart horse to run him down."
Tiley had been considering setting Demonetization for a tilt at the Gr.2 Rich Hill Mile (1600m) at Ellerslie on New Year's day, a race he was runner-up in last season, however he may have to rethink those plans after his latest victory.
"I'm going to have a good chat to Leith as that win will probably see him handicapped out of the Rich Hill Mile now," he said.
"He is probably at the right stage to run a strong 2000m, especially how he finished off when he won the Easter Handicap (Gr.2, 1600m) back in April, so he deserves a crack at a Group One in a race like the Zabeel Classic (Ellerslie on Boxing Day).
"He is definitely in the top echelon of horses in New Zealand and he deserves a place in those Group One races.
"If he performed well there, then I might also look at a hit and run trip to Sydney in the autumn, as they tend to get a bit of rain at that time of the year and I think he could be very competitive in the right event."
Raced by long time Tiley stable client Narendra Balia, Demonetization has now won nine of his 30 starts with three of those wins coming at stakes level, including the Gr.2 Easter Handicap (1600m) earlier this year.
A son of All Too Hard and the Zabeel mare Midnight Special, Demonetization was purchased out of Mana Park's 2016 Ready to Run Sale draft at Karaka and was bred by Bob and Sandra Peters.He is a half-brother to Western Australian stakes winners Neverland and Midnight Blue, with the latter a leading fancy for this year's Gr.2 Perth Cup (2400m).