Carrathool double for well-travelled Sarah McDonough

Sarah McDonough landed a Carrathool double on Saturday. Image: Trackpix Racing Photography.

Dedicated is just one way to describe Scone-based apprentice jockey Sarah McDonough.

The three-kilogram-claimer made the long trek south to Carrathool on Saturday, where she rode the first double of her career. 

Teaming up with her uncle Steve Cunningham, McDonough won aboard Miss Brondolino in the Benchmark 50 Handicap (1000m).

The 28-year-old has enjoyed a good affiliation with the five-year-old Ilovethiscity mare, having previously won races at Adaminaby and Cooma late last year.

In a convincing victory, the Wangaratta-based mare was too good, winning by a length-and-a-half. 

“I thought off her run at Gilgandra, we could almost have won that day, and at Carrathool, it was a matter of whether she would like the dirt,” McDonough said.

“She is just a little trier and does everything you ask of her.”

Capping off a terrific day at the office, the young hoop teamed up with John Pearson and won on Sir William Bruce in the Class Two Handicap (1400m).

It was a dominant victory, with the Gunbower-based galloper romping in by eight lengths. 

“Steve got me that ride, and it was awesome to get a double,” McDonough said. 

“When I looked at the race, it wasn’t an overly strong field with not a lot of speed, and John said to go forward, and he kept going, and at the end, I didn’t realise I had won by that far. 

“I knew I was a long way in front and was over the moon with the win.”

A massive crowd was on hand at Carrathool, and McDonough had the time of her life at the popular Southern Districts meeting.

“Everyone was so welcoming, and there were such great prizes for the winners,” McDonough said. 

“I got an Akubra for the win on Miss Brondolino, but it didn’t fit, so I gave it to Steve, and I won a watch for my win on John’s horse.

“It was good with the big crowd all cheering when I was coming home on Sir William Bruce, and I gave them a bit of a wave, and you enjoy those meetings because the community is there, and everyone gets around it; it was really good.”

McDonough hasn’t wasted her opportunities, and while she is only eight wins into her burgeoning career, she has seen a lot of NSW.

“I don’t mind it, and I just put on music and cruise along,” McDonough said.

“If I don’t have any rides over a weekend up there, I may as well come down and ride a couple; otherwise, I’m sitting at home doing nothing, and this weekend, it worked out well by getting two winners.

“The way I see it, it took me quite a while to become a jockey, and now I have my chance; I’ll do anything I need to ride a winner and show up wherever I need to go and continue to work hard and make something of it. 

“I drove from Scone to Parkes on Friday afternoon and Parkes to Carrathool on Saturday morning; it was a big trip.

“I drove back to Wangaratta last night, and Mum is here, so I’ll muck around with Steve’s horses before heading home Tuesday afternoon for the Muswellbrook trials on Wednesday.”

In the lead-up to Carrathool, the apprentice landed an excellent win at Mudgee, riding the Dean McHardie-trained Gorgias to victory in the 1200m Class One Handicap. 

The win was on the Country Championship program, meaning all eyes were on the in-form hoop.

“I’ve been picking up enough rides and getting good results, and everything is running well and above expectations,” McDonough said. 

“I feel like the tide is about to turn, and I’m riding better and getting better, and I was over the moon to win on Gorgias at Mudgee.

“She was a good pickup for Dean and a lovely horse.”

Purcell claims the Carrathool Cup 

While Sarah McDonough’s double headlined a big day at Carrathool, the feature on the six-race program was taken out by Jerilderie, trainer Ross Purcell, who won the Carrathool Cup with Decker (Michael Heagney, $3.40). 

Heagney rode a double, teaming up with Graham Byatt when triumphing on Unspoken Star ($10) 1200m Benchmark 50 Handicap. 

Andrew Dale and Brad Vale also combined for a win, with Make Public ($1.75) proving too classy in the 1200m Maiden Handicap.

Seymour visitors Steven and Samantha Noble also ended up in the winner’s circle, with Zoulane ($4.40) just holding on to victory in the 1000m Class One Handicap. 

The following community race day is at Berrigan on March 16, ahead of the non-TAB meeting at Trangie on March 23.