Carleen Hefel after winning aboard Don't Doubt Dory at Flemington (Image: Racing Photos)
Apprentice rider Carleen Hefel had never ridden a Flemington winner over her short career but she has certainly made her mark at headquarters when she book-ended Saturday’s meeting.
Hefel, a mature-age apprentice at 31 after only beginning her career in 2019, began the meeting with an upset win aboard Standoff ($15) before punching home one of her favourite horses Don’t Doubt Dory ($8) in the final event.
"That win there means a lot more," she said of Don’t Doubt Dory. "You do all the work on the horse and especially for Julien (Welsh, the trainer). It makes the win a lot more special.
"I saw he was kicking his heels up a bit but once you’re on his back he’s a gentleman. He’s a beautiful ride and today he was the most switched on in a race he’s ever been - the best he’s felt.
"He’s a pretty tough horse. He can feel them coming and he puts his ears back and he keeps digging in."
Hefel, who had a brief riding stint this season in Western Australia, rode a winner from her first ride in June 2019.
For Welsh, it was his first Flemington winner also and while proud of his horse, he was also delighted for his rider.
"Terrific ride, too, from Carleen," he said. "Carleen’s ridden this horse all the time. She’s my apprentice and I couldn’t be happier with her. She’s ridden a double today at Flemington and made me really proud.
"As well as the horse winning, with her winning that is fantastic."