Jockey Josh Cartwright has landed a satisfying city double at Sandown as he continues to rebuild his riding career in Victoria after serving a lengthy suspension.
A victory on the Nick Harnett-trained colt Seafield Road in Wednesday’s Le Pine Funerals Plate (1300m) gave Cartwright his first city success since his return in the middle of last year.
He followed with victory on the Simon Wilde-trained Hard ‘N’ Tough in the Big Screen Company Handicap (2100m), his only other ride on the program.
Cartwright made headlines in January 2017 when he steered his mount out into another horse during a race at Morphettville, resulting in an 18-month suspension.
The now 25-year-old was relicensed in Victoria mid-last year and had ridden 17 winners this season before adding Wednesday’s double.
“There’s plenty of lows in racing but these days are what you work for,” Cartwright said.
“This is what we aspire to do.
“I’m really putting in. I was in a pretty dark place two years ago when I was sidelined and this is a big achievement for me, to come here to Sandown today and hold it with the best.
“We’re here in Melbourne, one of the most competitive jurisdictions.
“It’s great that I can apply the skills in horsemanship and having trained racehorses before, I can apply that to my riding now and that’s definitely been a huge part of my success.”
While Cartwright has been back riding in races since mid-last year, he spent three months of that sidelined because of a sinus operation.
“I’m based in the city in Melbourne but doing a lot down at Warrnambool and also putting myself around at places like Pakenham,” he said.
“I’m winding this up into the start of something, all guns blazing and hoping to make something of it.
“I’ve just learned to take a step back when I need to and take it easy.”
He said the Wilde stable at Warrnambool had been big supporters.
“To have a city winner for the Wilde stable is a huge thing because they’re my biggest supporters and I do a lot of work there,” Cartwright said.
“As well as a bloke like Nick Harnett, who I’ve ridden for since early doors. It’s great to get those opportunities, do the work on those horses and then take it to the races.”