Coronavirus restrictions have led to apprentice Alex Patis riding her first metropolitan winner at the Gold Coast.
Queensland is split into regions because of the coronavirus outbreak with metropolitan racing divided between the Gold Coast on Friday and Doomben on Saturday.
Patis, 20, did part of her apprenticeship in Victoria and Tasmania before returning home to the Gold Coast late last year.
She has been riding mainly at the provincial tracks, where she has won 10 races, but will get metropolitan chances with jockey numbers split between the two regions.
Patis rode a well judged race to steer Spirit One ($4) to victory in the Aquis Two-Year-Old Handicap (1100m).
Tony Sears, who trains in partnership with his daughter Maddy, said it was only a series of events that led to Spirit One running and him booking Patis.
“We only decided to run her because her owner Melvin Foo was coming out from Singapore to see her,” Sears said.
“As it turned out he couldn’t get here because of the virus restrictions.
“We decided to run anyway and wanted a three kilo claim because she isn’t big and had 59kg.
“Alex was recommended and I must admit I had never met her before today. But she will get a few more rides for us.”
Spirit One picked up $72,000 for the win in prize money and QTIS bonus payments.
“It is good we can still race for good money and everyone is doing their bit to keep going,” Sears said.
Spirit One was well beaten at her previous start in The Jewel 2YO after slipping at the start.
“She was the only city winner in the field today and was well placed,” Sears said.