Image: Jess Eaton and Catching Beams return to scale (Image: Racing Photos)
Hard work is paying off for apprentice Jess Eaton, who notched her first Melbourne Saturday victory with an all-the-way win aboard filly Catching Beams at The Valley.
Eaton, who returned from a knee injury in September, has been based at Mornington with trainer Chris Meagher for the past 12 months but won on Catching Beams in the 1600-metre benchmark 64 for another Mornington-based trainer in Jerome Hunter.
"Jess is a real worker," Hunter said after the narrow but impressive win. "I see her at Mornington every morning. She rides a lot of track work for different trainers and it’s great to see her win on a Saturday."
Eaton, 25, has been given extensions to her apprenticeship due to a long history of injuries and while Saturday’s win was just her fifth in the metropolitan area, she intends returning to the winner’s stall often in the coming seasons.
"With all the injuries I’ve had, I’ve had a bit of bad luck," she said. "I’ve got probably a year and half extension time and then I think they’ve introduced an extra year for lost momentum. So fortunately I’ve got plenty of time up my sleeve so hopefully I can work towards outriding my claim."
Starting at $13, Catching Beams was getting tired on the line but held on to score by a half head over the $3.60 favourite Mahis Angel with three and a quarter lengths to Welcome Stryker ($11) in third place.
Eaton said the filly had improved out of sight since been ridden more positively.
"We obviously worked out pretty quickly that she likes that high cruising speed without pressure and to her credit when the pressure came on the 200m, she dug deep and fought to the line," she said.
Hunter said the win meant he could look around for some black type races.
"She’s only a three-year-old filly so we have to start thinking about some big races now," he said.
"I did look in the calendar. There are a few races in Tasmania. Logistically I don’t like it but we’ll just wait and see.
"She’s just a real dour horse and I just changed her tactics to get her out in front and make it a real slog."