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THE SUNSHINE COAST NEWSPAPER COLUMN - IT MIGHT BE SOME TIME BEFORE THE FAT LADY SINGS ON THIS ONE

By Graham Potter | Sunday, January 22, 2017

Graham Potter writes a weekly column for the Sunshine Coast daily. Due to demand from those having trouble accessing the paper these columns are now also published on HRO courtesy of the Sunshine Coast daily.

The Josh Cartwright incident, an off the chart occurrence thankfully seldom seen at the track, has been the eye of the media storm this week.

For the record, AR 137(a) under which Cartwright was charged reads: Any rider may be punished if, in the opinion of the stewards he is guilty of careless, reckless, improper, incompetent or foul riding ... the specifics here being that he was charged for reckless riding.

Cartwright had seemed to deliberately direct his horse outwards into the path and on a direct collision course with two other runners in the home straight at Morphettville last Saturday without ever looking to tug the left rein and take evasive action.

He pleaded guilty to the reckless riding charge.

The shocking coming together of runners, with one cannoning into the others at speed, was ugly, violent and could have had a catastrophic ending for the all three of the horses and riders involved, so we can be thankful they all emerged safe and sound from the incident.

We think it is a big case now. What might have been doesn’t bear thinking about!

Stewards are expected to hand down Cartwright’s penalty next month.

That pending penalty has prompted as much outspoken debate as the sorry incident itself but it should be pointed out that a penalty cannot be a knee-jerk reaction.

It has to be carefully considered and the penalty ultimately imposed has to be supported by the weight of evidence so that stewards will have a very good case to justify at appeal level ... where everything seems to go these days ... because precedents relating to similar charges set over the years will come into play.

So posting an appropriate penalty is not as simple a matter as some might believe.

The intrigue of why Cartwright did what he did, the bizarre nature of the alleged act, the question of a suitable charge and punishment, the different parties pulling for Cartwright (concerned about his present well-being) and against him (baying for blood) have all combined to add to the already powerful drama of an unwanted situation.

It might be some time before the fat lady sings on this one.

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The celebration after the Tony McMahon trained Paradis Imperial (Nathan Day) won the first race at Eagle Farm on Saturday to keep her unbeaten record intact.

The Rockhampton based two-year-old now has five wins from five starts
The celebration after the Tony McMahon trained Paradis Imperial (Nathan Day) won the first race at Eagle Farm on Saturday to keep her unbeaten record intact.

The Rockhampton based two-year-old now has five wins from five starts
The Lindsay Hatch trained Transporter (Emma Ljung) took out the seventh race at Eagle Farm on Saturday. The big Commands gelding returned a win dividend of $70.30 on the local tote

Photos: Graham Potter
The Lindsay Hatch trained Transporter (Emma Ljung) took out the seventh race at Eagle Farm on Saturday. The big Commands gelding returned a win dividend of $70.30 on the local tote

Photos: Graham Potter
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