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Cejay Graham's Guineas a career highlight

Sun 5 May 2024

By Brad Bishop (Racing & Sports)

Cejay Graham celebrated her biggest win in the saddle when she won Saturday's headline event at Eagle Farm, the Group 2 Queensland Guineas.

The Brisbane apprentice combined with Warwick Farm trainer Gary Portelli to get Kintyre home in the $350,000 event.

It was just the second ride in a Group race for the 25-year-old, and first at Group 2 level, and she couldn't thank Portelli enough after an injury-interrupted career that included fractured vertebrae in her neck after a fall at Lismore in 2021.

"It feels incredible, I don't have the words to describe it really," Graham said.

"To be given this opportunity was surreal, and to salute feels incredible.

"I didn't think I would get these opportunities with the time I've had off, but to be back here and winning that race makes every bit of hard work worthwhile.

"I couldn't be more grateful to Gary and the owners. Gary has been such a big supporter of female jockeys for many years, and hopefully this will put me in good stead as I come out of my apprenticeship."

Graham lifted $9 chance Kintyre to a short-neck over Razors ($14) with local hope Press Link ($7) one length back in third spot.

It was the second-straight win for Kintyre after a protest win in the Group 3 Frank Packer Plate (2000m) at Randwick on April 20.

Portelli was thrilled to provide Graham with her biggest win.

"I've been watching Cejay since I came up here, she rode a winner for me on Spaceboy and helped me out when we had Fireburn up here, so I wanted to repay her for helping me out," he said.

"I put her on this horse in a Group 2, I told her not to be worried about going up the inside because it's not inferior ground. He's a tough horse and she rode him a treat."

Portelli said Kintyre would now progress to the $250,000 Group 3 Rough Habit Plate (2000m) at Doomben on May 18, which would determine further plans with the trainer worried about the half-brother to Golden Slipper winner Fireburn at the Derby distance of 2400m.