Graham Dedicates Eye Liner Win To Injured Collett

Graham Dedicates Eye Liner Win To Injured Collett New

Date: 24-Jun-2024

Apprentice jockey Cejay Graham claimed her second career black-type win on Saturday when she won the Listed Eye Liner Stakes aboard At Witz End.

After passing the winning post, Graham’s thoughts immediately turned to her good friend and fellow jockey Sam Collett.

Collett was supposed to ride the Daniel Bowen-trained At Witz End but a fall in the Winter Provincial Stayers Final earlier in the day required the popular hoop to be taken to hospital.

Thankfully, Collett avoided serious injury, but given Graham’s own long injury list she was still foremost in her thoughts.

“I’m absolutely thrilled, but honestly my heart hurts for Sam,” Graham said with sadness.

“It’s making me emotional because I know what it’s like to be out.

“My heart goes out to her, but I hope she’s okay.

“This is for you Sam.

“The hardest part is that everything keeps on going and you’re the one that has to sit back and watch everything go on without you.

“She’s going to be back in no time, and we can’t wait to have her back.”

Graham applauded the gelding’s toughness and will to win.

“He’s so tough,” Graham said.

“I went out there with an open book as it mapped a bit sticky for us.

“I thought there’s no point dragging him back and there’s no point sending him forward.

“I did hope he’d step a little bit better, and I copped a big squeeze at the start.

“I was posted three deep and thought he’s going to have to be good from here.

“He’s just a warrior and that was a very tough win.

“It was a great training performance from Dan, he’s got this horse going super.”

The rising nine-year-old gelding has taken Lismore based trainer Bowen on an amazing ride since joining his stable earlier this year.

At Witz End had won three of his seven starts for Bowen before Saturday’s Eye Liner Stakes, including the Listed ATC Cup at the Sunshine Coast.

Saturday’s feature win had the larrikin trainer bouncing around the winner’s enclosure.

“He’s amazing, isn’t he?” Bowen posed.

“He came out slow, I mean he’s never drawn a gate and he drew bad today (Saturday).

“He was stuck three and four wide and I thought,oh no surely he can’t keep going.

“Then he loomed up straightening and I started to think that he was going to win.

“I’m sad Sam couldn’t ride him today but it’s good for Cejay who is a close family friend.

Bowen was at a loss to explain exactly why the veteran galloper was racing in a purple patch of form.

“I don’t know, he’s an amazing horse and is just flying,” Bowen said.

“Look, it was a bad placement when I ran him at Eagle Farm (Group 2 Moreton Cup) last start.

“I gave myself two black eyes and a fractured cheek bone by the time I got back to the stalls and thought, what am I going to do...I have to turn this into something good.

“I thought, I’ll go to the Eye Liner, and it’s worked out.”

The Kosciusko looms as a potential target for At Witz End with Bowen believing his galloper is an ideal contender given it’s for country horses and an easier assignment than what he has been competing in.

Unfortunately, Collett missed out on a second win when another of her rides, Cocobrew Express took out the Ipswich Mile Benchmark 78 Handicap for replacement rider Nikita Beriman. 

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