From apprentice butcher to apprentice jockey. It’s been a hectic two years for Kristo Sardelic.
Sardelic comes from a non-racing background and never had an association with horses, but he jumped at the chance to become an apprentice.
And after three months and 28 rides since he made his debut at Bunbury in April, Sardelic’s career transition was rewarded at Carnarvon on Sunday.
In a confidence-boosting performance, Sardelic booted home a double, including the first of his fledgling career, from his six rides on the card.
Stride Out gave Sardelic his first race victory when he led from barrier to post in the Skinner’s Horse Transport Handicap over 1000m.
He followed up on rank outsider Tell Me This, who came from last position to take out the Sandhurst Security Handicap (1400m).
Sardelic’s double was also an emotional boost for host trainer’s Dan and Ben Pearce after they endured a heart breaking week.
Their star sprinting mare Angelic Ruler passed away on Thursday after veterinarians found an inoperable growth in her colon.
The Pearce brothers have been instrumental in guiding Sardelic and a strong support network as he navigates his way in thoroughbred’s environment.
Ben Pearce said the 23-year-old has taken big strides in the past 12-months and should be credited after commencing his racing education from zero.
“He rode well yesterday (Sunday) and hopefully it’s all starting to click for him,” Pearce told The Races WA.
“He’s come a long way with us, but it’s been hard for him because he is basically learning everything about racing from scratch.
“Everything from race riding, handling horses and even the language of racing which was foreign to him.
“You compare him to a lot of other apprentices that come through and they have ridden and been around horses since they were kids.
“They’ve had parents that have ridden or uncles and brothers and sisters, they have been around it.
“Whereas he’s had absolutely no experience around horses at all, he never ever really watched races.
“But he’s resilient and has got the work ethic, he’s keen, I think he has a lot of things in his favour to make a jockey.
“He’s taken a lot in in the last 18-months and two years.”
Sardelic, on loan to Darryn Pateman during the Carnarvon season, launched a big day for junior riders.
Just two weeks after being granted permission to ride, Hannah Fitzgerald, took little time to notch her first win when she combined with Jupiters Sun.