Adelaide apprentice Emily Finnegan is riding with a clear mind after becoming an Australian resident.
After landing four winners at Naracoorte on Friday, Finnigan made the most of her only ride at Ballarat on Saturday in guiding Entrancing to victory in the Sam Miranda Handicap.
Leading throughout, Entrancing ($3.40) scored a 3-1/4 length victory over the favourite Cheeky Babe ($2.80) with Jacqui’s Joy ($14) a length away third.
Apprenticed to Phillip Stokes, Irish-born Finnegan overstayed her work visa which threatened her career as a jockey in Australia.
Finnegan said she was appreciative of Stokes for giving her the opportunity aboard Entrancing on Saturday to claim her first metropolitan win in Victoria.
But she was more thankful for the trainer’s and racing officials’ support with her visa application.
“Phillip originally sponsored me on a visa that I overstayed,” Finnegan said.
“It was meant to be two years but in the end it was only one-and-a-half years, however in the end it came out good.”
Finnegan found out three weeks ago, while on holiday in Ireland for her sister’s wedding, that she had become an Australian resident.
“I’m a permanent resident of Australia now so I can ride not having to worry about my visa at all,” she said.
After riding five winners over the past two days there will be no rest for Finnegan who faced the drive back to Adelaide.
“Before I left for Naracoorte I was told I needed to be back at work at 6am on Sunday,” she said.