Polly Downing will chase another against-the-odds win with Elsie Gem on Monday at Newcastle after the mare put the cherry on top of a special few days for her trainer, owner and breeder.
Elsie Gem, an $81 shot, made the most of her chances at Newcastle on Friday night to score a narrow win, which was her first in more than a year. It came just eight days after Downing and her husband, Paul Bourke, welcomed their first child, son Harry, into the world.
Maitland reinsman Dan Morgan gave the family more cause for celebration when he kept Elsie Gem on the pace and out of trouble as odds-on favourite Topsky twice galloped in race five.
Elsie Gem, a six-year-old mare which last won in April 2019, then ground out a half-head win over Lovin Everyday. Topsky regrouped to sprint home for third.
It was an exciting win for Downing, who has only Elsie Gem in work. Her parents, John and Helen Downing, have been looking after Elsie Gem in recent times.
"It's been 12 months so she likes this time of the year," Polly said of the win.
"She fought on well and it's been a very exciting time."
Elsie Gem will back up from the outside gate in race six on Monday.
"It's a tougher race and the draw doesn't help," she said.