Deja Blue has quickly become a mare young jockey Jye McNeil will long remember.
McNeil guided Deja Blue to victory in Saturday’s Meadow Mist Handicap at Flemington, having also been aboard when the four-year-old won two starts before that at Sandown on December 21.
Both city wins were significant for McNeil, who has just begun a new phase of his riding career as a senior jockey having finished his apprenticeship earlier this month.
“She was my last city winner as an apprentice and she’s my first city winner as a senior,” 22-year-old McNeil said.
“So she has become special to me.”
Saturday’s victory was McNeil’s third from six rides on the Robbie Griffiths-trained Deja Blue.
Deja Blue ($7.50) settled just behind the speed from the inside draw before McNeil angled her out from behind the two frontrunners inside the final 300m to make her winning run.
She defeated New Summer Night ($5), which got up along the fence late, to win by a length with three-quarters of a length to Princess Arrow ($6) third.
“She drew barrier one and it looked a nice race on paper for her today,” McNeil said.
“The way everything worked out, she was a class above them.
“Obviously coming out of my apprenticeship it’s important to be riding winners, and there’s no better person to do that for than Robbie.”
McNeil outrode his claim as an apprentice with that milestone also coming at Sandown on December 21 but aboard Fudged earlier on the program before he won on Deja Blue.
The Griffiths stable made it a race-to-race double on Saturday when three-year-old Capannello took out the Piping Lane Handicap (1100m) with apprentice Ben Thompson aboard.
Capannello, which was Thompson’s second winner for the meeting, responded after being headed by topweight Barthelona inside the final 200m to win by half a neck with half a length to Invincible Al third.
“He’s still very new and still learning but he beat a nice field there today and Robbie’s got a nice horse on his hands,” Thompson said.