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 Tyers Park.
She had pipped hot favourite Charity Spirit ($1.60) to the post in the opening Hothams Sand Soil & Gravel Class 1 Maiden Plate (2008 metres) race, even though she was riding a $41-odds horse.
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's juggled her profession alongside homeschooling her children during the COVID-19 lockdown and her husband being unwell.
So when Bell-Pitomac dismounted Who's Tinny after the race, a combination of all those factors lead her to a loud joyful cheer.
"Any win is a good win, but that was by 100th win. That was really good," she said after the racing.
"I rode her last start and the plan was to come here over a bit further, so that was good.
"We walked the track before the race and we were worried about some spots being a bit slippery, so I was thinking I wasn't going to get my 100th.
"It was good. She loves the wet, so that definitely helped."
Only six horses lined up in the barriers for the opening race at Tyers Park, following two late scratchings.
A downpour on Thursday and Friday morning didn't bode well for racing actually going ahead, but the first got away with the track rated a heavy nine.
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 outright lead on the outside.
But with 600 metres to go, Bell-Pitomac guided Who's Tinny to the outside and took the lead off She's No Princess as they worked for home.
And while Who's Tinny had the lead for the entire home straight, she was given an almighty scare as the Gary Portelli-trained Charity Spirit stormed home to finish within 0.28 metres of the winner.
Ponte Pietra ($4.60), trained by Richard Litt, took the third and final placing.
Bell-Pitomac confirmed that was her first win riding for the Orange trainer, who she had some kind words for.
"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.
"Winnings always good, so when you've had a rough trot, it always reminds you why you're here."
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