There was so much for jockey Kath Bell-Pitomac to be smiling about on Friday, when she rode the Alison Smith-trained Who's Tinny to victory at Bathurst's Tyers Park.
The Wellington jockey had pipped hot favourite Charity Spirit ($1.60) to the post in the day's opening race, even though she was riding a $41 outsider.
It was also a milestone victory for Bell-Pitomac, as she brought up her 100th career win, a special accolade for the jockey who has been in and out of the industry for 20 years.
But in recent months, life has been quite challenging, as she has juggled her profession alongside homeschooling her children during the COVID-19 lockdown and her husband being unwell.
So when she dismounted Who's Tinny after Friday's Hothams Sand Soil & Gravel Class 1 Maiden Plate (2008m), a combination of all those factors led her to a loud joyful cheer.
"That was my first win for Alison. I've ridden for her on and off and we've had a bit of luck with long shots here and there but she's been really good," she said.
"I've had a rough couple of months with home schooling with the kids, COVID and my husband is home and not well.
"It's been a hard slog doing racing and being at home. Just a few things that Ali has said lately has been really good for my confidence.
"She knew the horse, knew where she was going to go with her and it paid off, so I'm really grateful it paid off for me.
"Winning's always good, so when you've had a rough trot, it always reminds you why you're here."
Bell-Pitomac was nervous she wouldn't get the chance to score her 100th win on Friday as it took a track inspection from the jockeys to give racing the go-ahead after plenty of rain.
It went ahead on a Heavy 9, with just six horses contesting the day's opening event.
Who's Tinny jumped well from the barriers and settled at the front on the inside, but it was the Clint Lundholm-trained She's No Princess ($20) that took the early lead.
But with 600 metres to go, Bell-Pitomac guided Who's Tinny to the outside and took the lead as the pace began to pick up. And while Who's Tinny had the lead for the entire home straight, she was given an almighty scare as the Gary Portelli-trained hot favourite Charity Spirit stormed home to almost nab victory in a photo finish.
Ponte Pietra ($4.60), trained by Richard Litt, twas third while She's No Princess was fourth for Lundholm.
"I rode her last start and the plan was to come here over a bit further, so that was good," Bell-Pitomac said of Who's Tinny.
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