Annabelle Hadden-Wight produced a composed performance to land the Markel Magnolia Cup aboard Scott Dixon’s Fosroc.
The 22-year-old, who is a work rider and racing secretary to trainer Jack Jones, partnered the seven-year-old gelding known under rules as Ebury.
The partnership got off to a good start over the five-and-a-half-furlong trip and travelled near the head of the field, pulling away two furlongs from home and holding on to narrowly finish ahead of the closing rival Eliza McCalmont.
“It has not really sunk in, it was so much fun, I want to do it all over again! I have only ridden the horse once and I didn’t know what to expect,” said Hadden-Wight.
“He jumped really well, we got a good start, and I was in front most of the way, and I had two each side and I decided that I was not going to let them come past.
“My legs were good, but I did jump off and my knees buckled. I am pretty tired now!
“It has been an amazing experience, a lot of cameras, but the whole thing has been really well organised and we have been very well looked after.”
The victory had a special poignancy for Hadden-Wight, who at one point thought she would never walk again, let alone ride, after falling ill with meningitis when she was 18.
“Four years ago I was in the Philippines and I got really ill on my 18th birthday on just the second day we were there,” she explained.
“I ended up spending months and months out there – I had meningitis with lots of complications and my legs weren’t working, I was in a wheelchair. They said I may never walk or ride again.
“After making a full recovery, I like to take every opportunity, it really changed my outlook on life. It was for the best, but at the time pretty scary.
“It is so nice to have my friends and family here, some I have not seen for ages.
“Mum is here, she is not horsey at all and has found the whole thing terrifying!”