Simon Mapletoft on the AWC: Stable Tours – Tony Carroll
With 40 winners to his name last season, the Worcestershire handler is looking forward to another fruitful winter campaign.
Tony Carroll, whose first taste of All-Weather racing came as a fearless jump jockey on the Southwell Fibresand 25 years ago, has since emerged as one of the most prolific trainers on sand in the country. Last winter only the Applebys – Charlie and Mick – saddled more winners. The dual-purpose Worcestershire handler notched an impressive tally of 40, the majority achieved at Wolverhampton and Kempton at a strike rate approaching 20%.
His best horse, Boom The Groom, won three races and over £56,000 in prize money and looks set for another productive campaign when he returns to the track in the new year. Sixth in last season’s Sprint Final, Boom The Groom has been gelded following a string of creditable efforts in defeat on turf. “He’s a very good horse who has a big race in him,” says Carroll. “He was a bit edgy in the paddock and in the gates so I’m hoping the operation will improve him.”
Carroll also expects Rightway to progress again this winter. The four-year-old has undergone a minor knee operation since winning his maiden over a mile at Wolverhampton last December and has been given plenty of time to recover. Bought out of John Oxx’s yard for 23,000 Euros a year ago, the Cockney Rebel gelding is described as “better than average” and “on a very nice mark in the mid-70s”.
This time last year, Carroll was hoping French recruit Saint Pois would develop into a Mile Finalist, but he became disappointing. As a result he appears to have got himself well handicapped if placed efforts at Newmarket and Chepstow can be taken as a hint. “He’s a lovely balanced horse who has a lot of ability,” adds Carroll. “If he can transfer his form back to the All-Weather he will prove very useful.”
Zeteah was a long-standing maiden until winning off a lowly mark for apprentice ace Tom Marquant over a mile at Salisbury in August and is another to follow in low-grade handicaps, he adds. “She ran really well at Wolverhampton in September but was unlucky to bump into Clary, who went on to win her next two races.”
Veteran Ocean Legend shows no signs of wear and tear despite racing well over 100 times. His claiming win at Kempton in September was the 17th of his career and Carroll insists there’s more to come. “He’s such an honest horse who will keep on winning those sellers and claimers. He might be 10 but he has plenty of miles left on the clock and loves Kempton.”
Two wins at Lingfield and Wolverhampton in the hands of champion jockey Luke Morris enhanced Pour La Victoire’s record on sand and another busy campaign beckons. Effective over five, six and seven furlongs, the five-year-old confirmed his wellbeing with a turf win at Brighton in August and is backed by his trainer to defy a career-high mark.