Having ridden Nautical in most of her fast trackwork and barrier trials, jockey Brian Higgins finally got his chance to ride the mare in race at Flemington.
And he made it count.
Higgins steered Nautical to victory in the Listed Straight Six, bringing up a milestone first Saturday city winner for the 30-year-old jockey.
“And to do it in a Listed race is even better,” Higgins said.
Higgins said it was special to win for trainer Nikki Burke who has been a big supporter throughout his career.
Nautical ($31) was first-up in the 1200m race and after having a nice run with cover, she sprinted well to get home in a photo-finish over Whistle Baby.
But Higgins thought he had been beaten until the runner-up’s jockey Chris Symons told him otherwise.
“I didn’t want to get carried away before I actually knew that I did win,” Higgins said.
Burke sent Nautical into the race without a barrier trial and was confident she would be hard to beat, although Saturday’s Proud Miss Stakes in Adelaide was the original target.