Friday 19 July 2019

Jockey Gary Carroll had seven rides in Galway yesterday just 24 hours after completing the Dublin Marathon


Gary Carroll found time in his busy schedule to train for the Dublin Marathon. Photo by Cody Glenn/Sportsfile
Gary Carroll found time in his busy schedule to train for the Dublin Marathon. Photo by Cody Glenn/Sportsfile
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

When it comes to sportspeople getting on with their job despite extenuating circumstances, there are few comparisons to the resilience of jockeys and Gary Carroll took it to another level yesterday at Galway.

After seeing his Twitter picture showing completion of Sunday's Dublin City Marathon in 3:46 - all money he raises will go to the Irish Injured Jockeys Fund - it was wrongly assumed that the Kildare pilot would be taking a richly deserved break the following day.

Carroll with his medal.
Carroll with his medal.

A scan through his book of rides showed seven from the eight-race Ballybrit card and, much like Davy Russell returning for a humdrum meeting in Tramore the day after winning this year's Aintree Grand National, it shows that forward is the only gear which jockeys know.

Carroll admits he wasn't a pretty sight trying to shake himself for the drive to Ballybrit after hitting 'The Wall' the previous day.

"I'd say if I was a racehorse you would have put me down," the 29-year-old jokes. "I wasn't great getting out of the bed but no pain no gain. If I was to do it again I'd want no racing the day after though really."

Finishing the stamina-sapping 26 miles and 385 yards had always been on his bucket list and with a rare Sunday devoid of Flat racing, Carroll decided to seize his opportunity.

A regular runner who covers 70-80k per week in an effort to keep his weight in check, fitness wasn't an issue but lactic acid gripping his legs from hard road running began to take over with four miles to travel.

It was "mind over matter at that stage" and his aching body was well soothed at Galway yesterday where ice baths and massages were the first port of call on track before a busy day in the saddle commenced.

The "hardest part was walking in and out to the parade ring because you're a little tender" but race riding is a little different than regular exercise and Carroll felt "100pc" despite making the trip home empty handed,

"I've an hour and a half's drive home so I've all the time in the world" is not your typical response from an interviewee but it's fair to say that Carroll is not your typical jockey.

Unlike most of his contemporaries, he didn't start riding out regularly under rules until he had his Leaving Certificate completed and he believes young jockeys shouldn't be rushing their studies to get into the sport.

"I did my Leaving Cert and I'm glad I did it. It's probably not a whole lot of use to me now but for a young lad going forward, there's probably no rush going in to be a jockey at 16 as a young greenhorn," he says.

"I sort of started riding when I was nearly 18, you're that bit older and wiser which is no harm and you have something to fall back on. You never know what can happen in this game and if it doesn't work out, at least you have that as a back-up.

"Even when I was riding as an apprentice my parents got me to do a couple of FETAC courses, it's never any harm to learn more and in this game you should always be learning."

Having surpassed last year's tally of 28 winners - he is currently has 29 to his name - he's happy to be going in the right direction and the former champion apprentice looks forward to some down time in the off-season.

How did he plan to celebrate last night?" I couldn't have a big dinner after the marathon because I was riding the next day so I'll have something nice to eat and kick the feet up."

What's rare is wonderful.

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