Apprentice Kristy Bennett couldn’t wipe the smile from her face after she landed her first city winner at Belmont on Wednesday.
Starting on the heavily supported Chinetti, Bennett was not overawed by the occasion in what was just her second city ride.
Chinetti, who firmed from $7 into $3.80, led all the way for Bennett and was never headed, kicking clear to score by two lengths.
Ending a 391-day losing drought, Chinetti defeated Transgressor and Stable Secret in the Tabtouch-Better Your Bet Handicap (1000m).
“I’m over the moon and so happy,” Bennett said.
“I wanted that line to come as fast as possible.
“I thought they were going to catch me, but I was cheering him to the line.”
Bennett, from a non-racing background, walked away from the sport as a 17-year-old when the demands of being an apprentice wore her down.
But after a stint working with one of Australia’s best trainer’s in Melbourne, Bennett rediscovered her passion and energy for racing.
Combining with what must now be her favourite horse, she made her riding debut on the Paul Jordan-trained Chinetti at Belmont last month.
“I took a break because mentally I couldn’t handle it being young,” Bennett said.
“I went away and worked for Darren Weir and came back.
“I was either going to restart my apprenticeship or do some study.
“But I love horses and thought it would be stupid not to come back.
“It’s the best decision of my life.
“Tears of happiness is all that came to me when I crossed that line.
“I almost fell off giving him a pat.”
Bennett said she has had no shortage of support from family and friends since her return from the eastern states, but heaped special praise on host trainer, Nick Cox.
“He didn’t really need an apprentice, but said if I needed his help he was happy to lend support,” Bennett said.
“He is so great to work with and is always looking out for me, whether it’s at track work or watching my trial rides.
“He has been my biggest support and I’m so happy to have him here watching me.
“It’s very exciting.”