Teo Nugent returns aboard Pop Queen (Image: Racing Photos)
Victoria's leading apprentice of 2018/19, Teo Nugent, supplied himself with a memorable 21st birthday present when he partnered $31 outsider Pop Queen to his first-ever Flemington win on Saturday.
"I'm 21 tomorrow (Sunday) and it's my first Flemington winner, so it's makes it even better," the in-form Nugent said after scoring in the Murray Region Handicap for mares.
The surprise victory, as he came with a withering burst from the tail of the field aboard Pop Queen, saw Nugent temporarily push his lead in the race to find Victoria's champion apprentice to 10 over Michael Poy, who was aboard runner-up Mamzelle Tess.
Just 35 minutes later, Poy struck back when he scored a narrow win aboard Milwaukee.
WATCH: Hear from Nugent
The win was Nugent's 79th in Victoria this season and despite her odds as the extreme outsider of the field, the victory came as no great surprise.
"I rode her first-up this prep at Moonee Valley and she ran a really nice third," he said. "I've been chasing my manager to get back on her ever since and it was great how things panned out for her today.
"The red-hot pace, she loved it."
On the line, Pop Queen held a three-and-a-quarter-length margin over Mamzelle Tess ($4.80), with half a length further back to the early leader Angelic Spirit ($4.80) in third place.
It has been a breakout season for Nugent, who had ridden just 24 winners before 2018/19 began in August.
He is planning a short break but not before business is finished.
"I am going to try and wrap up the apprentice title in the country and for overall apprentice this season, so we'll see how it goes," he said.
Pop Queen's win was the fourth at Flemington for trainer Lyn Tolson, who trains in partnership with Leonie Proctor.
WATCH: Pop Queen's win