Blake Spriggs will miss the anniversary of his five winners at Rosehill next Saturday but made up for it with a winning double at Randwick.
Spriggs starts a careless riding suspension on Sunday which rules him out of next week’s Listed Winter Stakes program – the meeting where he became the talk of the town last year with five wins including the feature on Mr Unforgettable.
The apprentice repaid the faith of some of his supporters on Saturday, winning on the David Vandyke-trained Hidden Gem and also Next The Universe for Kris Lees.
“I was lucky that Hidden Gem’s owners stuck solid with me and ran the horse today around me and my suspension,” Spriggs said.
“And Kris Lees has also been very good to me. We just got beaten in the Jungle Juice Cup during the week but this makes up for it.”
Hidden Gem was originally going to be kept for a race at Rosehill next Saturday but after discussions with part-owner Terry Mullens, Vandyke started the horse on Saturday instead to allow Spriggs to keep the ride.
Spriggs won on Hidden Gem at Rosehill two weeks ago and maintained his unbeaten record on the four-year-old by producing a rails-hugging ride in the ATC Foundation Membership Offer Handicap (1800m).
“This was the horse I was most looking forward to riding today,” Spriggs said after Hidden Gem’s 1-1/4-length success.
“He’s the one I’ve been wanting to ride again since I got off him last start. He’s a nice horse.”
The 19-year-old later sent Next The Universe through a narrow opening in the straight and the filly scored a deserved win in the ATC Foundation Membership On Sale Now Handicap (1200m).
“I held my breath when we went through that gap,” Spriggs said.
“She’s a very determined filly and she’s been around the money so it was good to get a win with her today. She certainly deserved it.”
Looking back on his achievement of 12 months ago, Spriggs believes it might have happened “too soon” for him.
The youngster had a quiet period not long after that breakthrough success but said he had worked his way back.
“Mum and Dad said it all my life, that there will always be highs and lows,” he said.
“After riding five winners and then riding Squamosa to win a Group race, I saw it first hand because it got pretty quiet after that.
“It’s good to see with hard work I’m coming back.”