Ceejay Graham scores an emotional feature win in the Group 2 Queensland Guineas

Ceejay Graham went through hell and back with a series of injuries that left her on the sidelines for extended periods, but the leading trainee was floating after an emotional victory aboard Kintyre in the Group 2 Queensland Guineas on Saturday at Eagle Farm in seventh heaven.

The popular rider used to drive six hours to race in Brisbane, suffering a broken back and wrist, but all that was a distant memory after Graham, along with Gary Portelli, committed a robbery at the $350,000 tournament, which left her greatest moment in his career to date.

Punters focused on other runners but Graham was able to hold off the might of Godolphin in a one-on-one with Razors and earn the praise of Portelli, who will line up for the Group 3 Rough Habit Plate in two weeks alongside Golden's brother Slipper winner Fireburn .

“It feels incredible, I don’t have the words to really describe it,” Graham said, holding back tears.

“I didn't think I would get these opportunities in the time I had off, but to be back here and win the race makes every bit of hard work worthwhile.

“I couldn’t be more grateful to Gary and the owners. Gary has been a huge supporter of female jockeys for many years and hopefully that will serve me well once I graduate.”

Short-term favorite for the coveted Brisbane Apprenticeship title, Graham delivered an exemplary ride aboard the Sydney Raider.

“The race couldn’t have gone better,” he said.

“We had a great run from the good track and were able to get the leaders to do enough work to get us into the race.

“When the leader came out, I knew we were going to have such a beautiful journey. I couldn’t believe it when he stuck his head forward, it’s a feeling like no other.”

Portelli has long been an admirer of Graham's work and said it is a long-term plan to pay her back.

“I've been watching Ceejay since I came here. She did a winning ride for me on Spaceboy and helped me when we had Fireburn up here, so I wanted to thank her for helping me,” he said.

“I put her on that horse in Group 2 and told her not to worry about her climbing inside because it’s not inferior ground. He’s a strong horse and she rode him brilliantly.”

Portelli said he was unlikely to step up to the Group 1 Queensland Derby after the Rough Habit Plate later this month, with the super-rich Golden Eagle proving attractive bait in the spring.

Originally published as Ceejay Graham scores emotional feature win in Group 2 Queensland Guineas

Anna Harden

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