There was no fairytale return to racing for champion jockey Jamie Kah when she finally resumed race riding at Mornington on Friday afternoon before heading to Moonee Valley.
Punters, no doubt delighted to see her back in the saddle after more than three months, bet up big on her two mounts and bookmakers, wary of an immediate return to form for the record breaker, ensured that the odds were not generous.
But her luck was out, Kah finishing second on the Ciaron Maher/David Eustace-trained Inner Spirit at her first ride back in the Big Screen Company Plate and then filling the same place 35 minutes later in the Take It To The Neds Level Plate aboard Dawn County, saddled by her partner Clayton Douglas.
Both horses started as favourite and proved costly for punters. Inner Spirit went off at $1.50 on the Victorian TAB even though it was having its first race for over a year, and for a long way in the straight it looked as though Kah had delivered the perfect ride as the gelding led and looked set for victory.
But Brian Higgins managed to galvanise his partner Gorgonado to put her best foot forward from an unpromising position and the Cindy Alderson-trained mare – who her trainer said could be a difficult customer at home – flashed home to score.
She looked set for success on Dawn County, trained by her partner, as she nursed the ex-Kiwi galloper into a challenging position turning into the straight behind the front running Aravene and Brett Prebble.
Prebble, who landed numerous group 1s during the spring, was a major beneficiary of Kah’s long suspension following her involvement in the Mornington Airbnb scandal in late August, and he proved her nemesis here too.
Just as it looked as though Kah and the $2 favourite Dawn County would swoop to victory Prebble conjured a renewed effort from Aravene and the lightly-raced filly raced clear to win.
Kah then dashed across Melbourne to get to the evening fixture at Moonee Valley, but her luck did not change there either.
In race four she ran fourth on the Simon Zahra-trained Dirty Deeds, and in the next event was unplaced aboard top weight China Affair, trained by Douglas, in the Ladbrokes 55 second challenge.