Killarney delight for rising hoop
The Killarney Cup meeting is done and dusted for another year, but the memories will remain with one young woman for years to come.
Bridget Rooney rode her second ever winner at the meeting after she guided five-year-old Dangerous Danica to a well-deserved victory in the first of the Benchmark 45 Handicap's over 1350 metres.
On the back of four placings and a fourth in its last five starts, the Tom Dougall trained mare was aiming to shirk the unwanted bridesmaid tag.
"It felt really good to get the win. She was my second ride of the day, and to get her home was an amazing feeling," she said.
"I didn't receive too many instructions at all. I was just told to jump her out and ride her from there, as we knew she'd jump well and be up near the front."
Through the middle stages of the race, Rooney and her mount were travelling so well that the lead was extended out to five lengths.
"She was just travelling so well during the run that she was able to slip away from them. She gave me a very comfortable run up to the bend."
As the field of nine approached the home straight, the lead evaporated, with Prince of Peace looming ominously.
"There were a few stages there where I thought I was going to get beaten, and I got a bit nervous in the straight. However, she really responded when I gave her a tap and she really kicked up another few gears when it counted."
Her story to get to this point has been quite remarkable.
Rooney, who was raised in Wallangra (near Inverell), grew up in a family that weren't a great fan of horses, a rare feat considering a large number industry participants are immersed in the sport at a young age.
She has also had to encounter people telling her on a regular basis that she would never make it, however that has only served to motivate the young hoop to aim higher, and take the step from a trackwork jockey to a professional.
So far that decision has paid dividends, winning two races in her first 10 rides.
Currently residing in Deagon and under the care of veteran trainer Pat Duff, Rooney will look to pick up another winner when she heads to the Gympic picnic meeting on Saturday.