08 Aug 2022

Racing: Kildare's Gary Carroll in the Q&A hot seat

Weekly Questions and Answers Series

Racing: Kildare's Gary Carroll in the Q&A hot seat

Top jockey Gary Carroll

Kildare town top jockey, Gary Carroll, is this week's man in the hot seat

What was your childhood ambition?
To be champion jockey!

Growing up, who was your sporting hero?
Mick Kinane. One of the all-time greats.

Do you have a mentor?
My father, Raymond. The toughest critic going, he’s not always right but he is never wrong!

What or where is your happy place?
Out hunting with the Ward Union Staghounds. I try to get out as much as I can during the off season.

What sparked your love of racing
It's in the genes. My grandfather, Frank Carroll won the Galway Plate back in the forties, my father was Champion Apprentice and Group 1 winning jockey, so it was a natural progression.

What horse put you on the map?
Sesenta winning the Ebor Handicap in York for trainer Willie Mullins back in 2009.

Who is your favourite horse?
This is a hard one, I have had many along the years that have been very good to me including Invincible Ash for Michael Halford, Euphrasia for Joe Murphy, Lily's Angel and Brendan Bracken for Ger Lyons to name a few.

What was it like to ride in your first race?
It was a great thrill to ride on my local track at the Curragh, only a stone throw from my family home.

How long does it take to learn race-riding tactics?
You are always learning!

Describe the feeling of riding your first winner?

Unbelievable feeling and one you never get tired of!

What is your most memorable racing moment?
Winning the Ebor in York for Willie Mullins on Sesenta in 2009.

What is your favourite racecourse in Ireland?
My local track The Curragh.

If you weren’t a jockey/ trainer what would you be?
My first choice on my CAO Application was Architecture but race riding took over straight after school and I have never looked back.

If you could ride one horse, what would it be?
Frankel, he was a freak of a racehorse and trained by a genius!

How do you cope with pressure?
Pressure is for tyres and bra-straps!

What mental preparation do you do for the big days?
I treat every race the same, it’s as important to win at a small meet as a big one for the owners and trainers.

How do you stay motivated?
The thrill of getting on new horses each season and finding the fast ones!

How do you deal with dips in form?
I try every day to be level-headed, winners are like buses you could be a while waiting on one but eventually, they will come!

Outside of racing, what is your favourite sporting moment?
When Meath won the All Ireland back in 1999, my father is a proud Meath man so to go there with my dad to Croke Park was special.

Can you give us a Netflix/ film recommendation?
I am more of a Podcast person but with the current climate I am willing to take some Netflix recommendations myself.

What is your guilty pleasure?
Food of any kind – when I am allowed eat it!

Desert island discs – name your favourite three songs?
Anything by Bruce Springsteen or Michael Jackson – multiple that x 3!

What person do you admire the most and why?
Ger Lyons, he is gone from strength to strength year on year and has been very loyal to me over the years.

Favourite dinner?
Can’t beat Steak – medium with all the sides!

Where is your favourite place to go on holidays?
Anywhere that has snow. Love my skiing.

What ambitions do you still have?
To ride a Group 1 winner.

What is the hidden gem of Kildare?
The Curragh Plains. Where else would you have 5,000 acres of common land that’s free for everyone to enjoy.

How are you occupying your time during the Covid-19 restrictions?
Spring cleaning and painting. I have a 6-month-old daughter so putting a lot of 2km walks pushing the buggy!

If you had one piece of advice for everyone during these worrying times of Covid-19, what would it be?
Listen to the Government, stay at home and stay safe. This too shall pass and please god all well get back to normal and we can get back racing.

If you were to go back to when you were 20 years old and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
No point worrying about things out of your control.

Favourite saying/ quote?
What’s for you, won’t pass you.

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