Winona Costin could scarcely imagine herself winning the Illawarra Turf Club apprentices' title at the start of the season, let alone be riding full-time for Australian Racing's "first lady".
But as the curtain closes on another season of racing in the Illawarra, the star apprentice finds herself riding a wave of success.
Costin transferred full-time to the Gai Waterhouse stable earlier this year, following a three-month loan stint, and has hit the ground running with six city winners so far.
But before she made the big move to Sydney, the former pupil of Mick Tubman made sure she set up a large enough advantage in the local apprentices' title race.
And after dominating the early season, Costin secured the crown after Saturday's final meeting of the season at Kembla Grange with 60. 5 points ahead of Brodie Loy (47) and Taylor Marshall (32).
"I probably didn't think I would be able to manage that at the start of the year," Costin said.
"The amount I have progressed throughout the year has been excellent. I have been very happy and to get that award is fantastic being the home track.
"All the local trainers down at Kembla like Donna Grisedale and Mick (Tubman), Kerry (Parker), Gwenda (Markwell) and of course Shane Kember as well, have all helped me out a lot."
While she admits defending her title next season might be a fair bit harder given she will now spend most of her Saturdays in Sydney, Costin was optimistic of adding to her Kembla crown.
But it is more likely the Sydney apprentices' title will be higher on her agenda next campaign.
"I would love to get that," Costin, who has six rides at Canterbury on Wednesday, said.
"It is a big ask and there is a lot of good apprentices around who are dominating at the moment. I would love to think I am a chance but it is a pretty high-end goal I think."
Kembla's other titles were also foregone conclusions heading into last Saturday's final race day of the season.
Despite suspensions interrupting his finish to the season, Mitchell Bell wrapped up the senior jockeys crown on 96 points ahead of Paul Hammersley (86) and Scott Pollard (84).
Markwell sealed another Kembla trainers title, doubling her nearest rival Parker..
The stable also picked up Horse of the Year with Totally Devoted.
KEMBLA GRANGE TRAINERS ONLY
Gwenda Markwell - 24 winners - $294,000
Kerry Parker - 12 winners - $147,000
Diane Poidevin-Laine - 6 winners - $73,500
Donna Grisedale - 5 winners - $61,250
Gwenda Markwell - 144.5
Gai Waterhouse - 84
Chris Waller - 79.5
Kerry Parker - 74.5
Mitchell Bell - 96
Paul Hammersley - 86
Scott Pollard - 84
Jeff Penza - 80
Winona Costin - 60.5
Brodie Loy - 47
Taylor Marshall - 32
Jessica Taylor - 28.5
HORSE OF THE YEAR
Totally Devoted (Gwenda Markwell) - 38
Steerage (Gwenda Markwell) - 29.5
Filomena (Kerry Parker) - 26
Commandette (Gwenda Markwell) - 24
Poet’s Fortune (Anthony Cummings) - 23
Jack’s Magic (Mick Tubman) - 21