APPRENTICE jockey Jessie Philpot has had to deal with more than her fair share of adversity during her short career in the saddle.
But that only makes moments like her comeback win aboard Carlingford last Sunday at Bendigo racecourse all the more sweeter.
The victory was her first (in six starts) after being sidelined for two months with a fractured knee.
It's not the first time Philpot has had to come back from a serious leg injury. She injured her other knee during a riding stint in New South Wales in 2017.
Philpot has also had to deal with the tragic loss of her mother, Donna, who was tragically killed in a track fall at the Bendigo Jockey Club in June, 2017.
The 24-year-old, who has been apprenticed to Bendigo trainer Mick Sell for the past 14 months, could not be prouder to have got her first win back with a horse she rides each morning at trackwork, and for a training operation, which has not only show tremendous faith in her, but embraced her as family.
She conceded some surprise Carlingford, a tough six-year-old with seven wins and eight placings to his name before Sunday, including a memorable win on Bendigo Cup day last year, had produced such a mighty first-up win.
"I didn't think he could quite win, I thought it was a tough run for him," Philpot said.
"Being first-up I thought he might need the run under his belt, turns out he didn't. He was super.
"Mick told me to give him a good dig out, make sure his mind is on the job. He came off the bit a bit at the 600m and I gave him a bit of a niggle to keep his mind on the job. Once he got that gap up the straight, he fought on well.
"Mel (Sell) told me before the race he does like a bit of a fight ... well that's what he got."
Naturally frustrated to be on the sidelines since early May, Philpot insisted she had plenty of motivation to fast-track her comeback.
She was desperately eager to be back in time to ride in the Donna Philpot Memorial Handicap at Bendigo on July 5.
Given the ride on the Kym Hann-trained She's Beneficial, Philpot was denied a fairytale, when the mare, who was formerly trained by her father Gus Philpot, was beaten into second place behind another Hann runner in Elmore Lad.
She dreams of one-day winning the race, but for now, Philpot hopes a special win with Carlingford can prove a turning point in her stop-start career.
"It actually took me two weeks to find out what I had done (to my knee) as it didn't show up in the x-ray .... I wish I had got on to it a little earlier," she said.
"I really had to push to get back to ride She's Beneficial - that's was a little bit rushed, but it was a good result, especially with Kym quinellaing the race."
"Obviously I was upset when I hurt my knee because I was just starting to get a roll-on. The day after it I had five rides (booked) at Bairnsdale. One of them won and one ran a place.
"The more you race ride the fitter you get, but it all came to a quick stop. Now I'm hoping to get right back into it and secure some nice rides."
Philpot's return paves the way for her to resume the chase of one of her racing goals of riding a winner in each of Australia's state's and territories.
Her first metropolitan win in Darwin earlier this year left the emerging jockey with just two states - South Australia and Western Australia - to mark off on.
Stable representative Mel Sell described Philpot's comeback win as nothing short of amazing.
"She works her butt off every single day and she's been given the chance to ride Carlingford and she didn't miss out on him," she told Racing.com post-race.
"Honestly, Jessie is part of the family - she really is. She lives in Bendigo, but she travels (home) to Kyneton with us, she even went to my daughters horse event (last saturday).
"She really is part of the family and has been waiting to get an opportunity like this to give her a real big kick-a-long and she made the most of it."
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