Despite early setbacks, rising star Brittany Graham remained patient and produced her winning hand in the final leg to take the inaugural Lady Drivers Invitational at Albion Park on Saturday.
The 24-year-old upstaged 11 of the most talented women in Australian racing to clinch the title in the sixth and final heat.
Forced to sit on the sidelines in the opening event due to a scratching, Graham kept herself within striking distance of the lead by snaring crucial points on the unfancied Corporal Luna ($36.60) and Living Grand ($28.70) in the second and fifth legs.
Graham held an ace up her sleeve in the series finale, where she was engaged to drive the Mark Dux-trained Covert Beauty ($1.40fav).
Despite early pressure, Graham forced her way to the front and never surrendered it, taking the race, the title, and a trip to Hamilton Island thanks to series sponsors, The Seymour Group.
“The Dux stable filled me with confidence heading into that race and I was just thrilled she (Covert Beauty) did it quite well in the end,” Graham said.
“Things didn’t go to plan at the start … I didn’t want to sit outside the leader so I put the pressure on and was lucky to get the lead. After that she was in cruise control.”
Graham congratulated all sections of the Queensland industry, in particular Queensland’s trainers, for making the inaugural series such a resounding success.
“We were so lucky to have the support of Albion Park, Racing Queensland and the Seymours, as well as the trainers who entered their horses,” Graham said.
“It’s a big ask to put their horses in and let us drive them, because we’ve never driven them before.
“The crowd was fantastic down there and were really getting into it. It’s a different crowd to what we’re used to and a great way to start the carnival – hopefully it’s a sign of things to come over the next couple of weeks.”
Graham said, despite the competitiveness of the series, all drivers had been supportive and encouraging of each other, suggesting a bright future for the series in the coming years.
“All of the girls were really lovely,” she said.
“It’s a competition but it’s also an opportunity to get to know the other drivers from different states.”