BACK-TO-BACK wins aboard She’s Beneficial has jockey John Keating convinced the in-form Bendigo mare can measure up to metropolitan class racing.
The four-year-old sprinter delivered a second consecutive emotion-charged win for her Bendigo trainer Gus Philpot on Sunday at the White Hills racecourse.
It was the former Queensland jockey’s first winner on his home track since the tragic death of wife Donna in June this year.
Keating said the mare, who was Donna’s favourite horse, had come on leaps and bounds since returning to racing last month following a 21 week spell.
“I rode her in track work last preparation, but I didn’t get to rider her in a race, but the way she has improved she is most definitely up to mid-week of Friday night city racing,” he said.
“If she keeps going forward as she is, the sky could be the limit.
“She could fully improve to mares races over the carnivals.”
Keating and Philpot have forged a handy partnership since the trainer’s return to racing last month.
The 45-year-old jockey has had three rides for Philpot in recent weeks for two wins on She’s Beneficial and a close second on 90-1 chance Simcha at Kyneton on December 7.
Keating said it was an emotional day all-round for the Philpot family, including Gus’ daughters Jessie and Montana, who convinced their father to return to training.
“They pleaded with him to come back to training especially for this mare because it was Donna’s favourite horse,” he said.
“She had looked after this horse ever since they got her as a yearling. This horse is a symbol of Donna.
“The horse has always had ability but this preparation she seems to have put it all together.
“In the two starts I have ridden her she’s near got it together, but I’m certain there’s still improvement and that’s an exciting thing about her.”