‘Every horse has his day’ as Sensei Jackie salutes at Cowra

Coriah Keatings helped the Dar Lunn-trained Sensei Jackie to his maiden win at Cowra on Monday.
Image: Racing Photography.

Sensei Jackie rewarded his loyal group of followers at Cowra on Monday, with the six-year-old breaking through for his first win.

Contesting the 1375m Maiden Handicap, the result was only 59 starts in the making as in-form apprentice Coriah Keatings jumped aboard the Dar Lunn-trained Scissor Kick gelding. 

With 53.5kg on his back after the apprentice’s two-kilogram claim, the Dubbo galloper jumped well from gate five, putting pressure on early leader Donna Emelia (Shayleigh Ingelse, $12) from the Brett Thompson yard. 

Keatings eventually worked to the front on Sensei Jackie ($3), with the pair leading clearly when turning for home.

From there, they won comfortably in the end, putting a length on the Maree Hopkins-trained Flying Dubawi (Michael Heagney, $2.10) while in third and three-and-a-half lengths away in third was the Rob Potter-trained Beograb Boy (Damon Budler, $5.50).

While the win was a long time coming, Lunn was confident Sensei Jackie would get the job done and praised Keatings, who was having her first ride on the galloper. 

“It was a relief,” Lunn laughed.

“I said to Coriah, lead at all costs if you can, but if something wants to go, take a sit of it. 

“She didn’t put the pressure on him, and he’s fit, tough and hard, and I thought he was going to be very hard to beast. 

Sensei Jackie’s earnings are now up to $96,760, and Lunn was pleased for owners Guy Mitchell and Rob Pratten, who race a big team with the Dubbo trainer, including Praline, Miss Twenty Two, Pants On Fire, Elson Boy, and Miracle Day.

“They have (been patient), and they have got a lot of horses in work for me, so it’s really good for them,” Lunn said. 

For Keatings, who’s kicked off 2024 in terrific form, the Queanbeyan-based apprentice was pleased to be the first jockey to get the job done on the ever-consistent Sensei Jackie. 

“I think we were having a chat behind the gates, and they said, ‘Everyone has had a crack at him’, so I’m pretty happy to get the 100% strike rate on him,” Keatings said. 

“Credit to Dar; he said he would lead again today, and that pressure was on the inside, and we never quite had the power to cross, but I just had to put that pressure on because we were probably going a little bit too slow for our liking.

“I just had to keep that leader honest, and to the horse’s credit, he did prick his ears when he got to the front; he didn’t want to win, but he did buckle down in the end and got the job done quite convincingly.”

Keatings, who won at Cowra in late January on Lockdown Gamble, which went on to win the Central Districts Country Championships qualifier at Mudgee late last month, said she has figured out how to ride the Central Districts racecourse. 

“I’m getting the support from the trainers, and my manager has been great out here,” Keatings said. 

“I think it took me all meeting last time to get the pattern of this track right for Lockdown Gamble, and I’ve come here and knuckled down and got the job done in the first race.”

Keatings enjoyed a red-letter day at Cowra, winning three races on the card, including the Diggers Cup. 

Riding for Danielle Seib, Keatings scored on Chaotic Beauty ($3.10), which won well in the 1700m event. 

Earlier on, Keatings also helped the Rex Cole-trained Chairman’s List ($4.40) to a thrilling win in the 1200m Benchmark 58 Handicap. 

Also enjoying a good day at Cowra was John Rolfe and Pierre Boudvillain, who combined for a winning double. 

The Frenchman, riding for the in-form Canberra stable, won on Rangatira ($4.20) in the 1375m Class One Handicap before guiding Arctic Desert ($6) to victory in the 1200m Maiden Plate.