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The mare who kicked off Mitchell Beer’s training career has returned to the winner’s circle for the first time in a year at Sandown, giving apprentice Ethan Brown his first city winner.

But the day didn’t quite go to script for Brown who was suspended for seven meetings after pleading guilty to careless riding aboard Unfurl who finished second in an earlier race.

Jacqui’s Joy won her first three starts in Australia last summer and gave Beer the first city wins of his training career at Caulfield.

But the mare had gone winless in nine starts since and Beer, who trains in partnership with Max Hinton at Mornington, said Wednesday’s victory in the Ladbrokes Handicap (1600m) brought both happiness and relief.

“She was my first city winner and it’s great for Ethan for her to be his,” Beer said.

“It’s fantastic all round and it’s great for her owners as well. They love this horse more than anything, so it’s great for them.”

The 17-year-old Brown hails from Alice Springs but is now based in Victoria with trainer Mick Kent.

Beer said Jacqui’s Joy’s recent runs had been frustrating because they knew the mare was better than what she had been showing.

“But we’ve never lost sight of the good ability she had shown earlier on,” he said.

“It’s just great and really rewarding for the team. The owners have really stayed positive with her and Max and I have just done a few little things differently with her.

“Max has done a fantastic job with her since her last run. He’s spent a lot of time with her, leading her off the pony and taking her down to the beach and putting in those little one per cent things.

“And without that she certainly wouldn’t have won today.”

Brown had Jacqui’s Joy midfield on the rail before angling out inside the final 300m.

Jacqui’s Joy ($10) finished well to beat Devilishly by a neck and Brown said it was a big thrill to land the milestone first city winner.

“There’s a lot of excitement,” Brown said.

“She won really nicely.”

Lady Selkirk, meanwhile, has confirmed plans to target stakes races during the upcoming Melbourne autumn carnival after bouncing back to winning form in the Splashland Handicap (1600m).

Trainer Matthew Williams now plans to give Lady Selkirk two weeks in the paddock before targeting stakes races such as the Mannerism Stakes and Sunline Stakes.

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