Michael Walker aboard Miss Mandito (Image: Racing Photos)
Charlotte Littlefield willed herself out of bed on Saturday morning.
Her body, battered and bruised after a fall at trackwork during the week, was telling her otherwise, but the emerging Pakenham trainer knew that a sweet reward was on offer.
That reward was her maiden metropolitan win on the big stage, Flemington on Finals Day, as Miss Mandito held out an unlucky El Questro to claim the Lailani Series Final (1400m).
For Littlefield, a former top eventer in the UK who moved to Australia in 2005 and started training three years ago, the Flemington victory was a dream come true.
"This is what dreams are made of," Littlefield said.
"To get this horse here today on a week back-up after a really taxing run at Caulfield last week (is amazing), I had a fall on Tuesday so I've done nothing all week and the girls at home have been fantastic.
"I thought I'd be more emotional but I've got a few painkillers in me so I'm OK."
While she hadn't won a city race prior to Saturday, Miss Mandito had become somewhat of a trailblazer for the young trainer with three wins and four placings from 13 starts.
Aided by a textbook Michael Walker ride, the daughter of Zacinto claimed the lead halfway up the straight before staving off the late challenge of El Questro, who was held up for clear running at times.
"She was just super," she said.
"We were desperate to get that city win, it became that elusive city win but now it's finally there and to do it at Flemington, it couldn't be any better.
"This horse, Jules (Julian Hay) picked her out of a paddock in New Zealand and we did everything, I broke her in and it's very satisfying.
"I think now we've proved it, this was with a cheap $20,000 horse we found out of the paddock and hopefully now we can start getting some nicer horses coming through the stable."