Good strike rate for McCarroll

Viktoria Gatu guiding Chicane to the first of two wins at Avondale today for trainer and part-owner Ross McCarroll.

Viktoria Gatu guiding Chicane to the first of two wins at Avondale today for trainer and part-owner Ross McCarroll.

Cambridge trainer Ross McCarroll added to his fine strike rate this season when saddling up a double at Avondale today.

McCarroll took his record for the new term to three wins and two placings from six starters and the promise of much more to come.

Just Sugar had credited McCarroll with his first win of the 2016-17 season when successful in the hands of Tim Johnson at New Plymouth on September 24, the same day in which stablemate Mo Chara was unlucky on debut at Ellerslie.

Today it was Mo Chara’s turn in the winner’s stall as the four-year-old daughter of Don Eduardo led throughout over 1300 metres in the NZB Insurance Pearl Series Race, while three races earlier Chicane capped off a third on debut at Taupo last month with a decisive victory in the Henderson Maiden.

McCarroll’s other runner today was Calligraphy, who did well to finish a close third, just over a long head behind the winner, Smoochy,

McCarroll wasn’t surprised by the wins of both Mo Chara and Chicane and pleased with the fresh-up performance of Calligraphy, who was a winner for his stable at Te Awamutu last May.

Mo Chara (Sam Weatherley) xperiencing a change of luck today.

Mo Chara (Sam Weatherley) xperiencing a change of luck today.

Mo Chara, a daughter of Raadira (a one-race Volksraad winner from five starts), had looked a chance on debut at Ellerslie after a trials win at Te Awamutu and a second at the Te Teko trials, but she had no luck. After being slow away, she was back on the inner then held up in the home straight.

“She’s not a bad horse,” said McCarroll. “Nothing went right at Ellerslie and this was a completely different ride today.

“She really had no race at Ellerslie and that’s why I backed her up so quickly. It’s a $12,000 race so we had to have another go and she won well.”

Ridden by Sam Weatherley, Mo Chara raced keenly in front during the early stages and was joined nearing the home turn. She then kicked away and held on strongly to score by a length and three-quarters from another Cambridge runner, the Margaret Falconer-trained Swinging Skirts.

“She won with a bit in hand and nothing is leading today,”said McCarroll after watching Weatherley succeed in his first ride for his stable. ”She was quite impressive.”

McCarroll, who has just a handful of horses at the racing stage, shares in the ownership of both Mo Chara and Chicane and was confident the latter would handle the heavy ground today.

“She worked really well in bad ground so I wasn’t worried coming into it,” he said. “It was a really good ride. Viktoria (Gatu) got her into a nice spot.”

It was obvious when Gatu asked Chicane to accelerate from her handy position coming down the home straight she would win and at the finish she was a length and three-quarters clear of the runner-up, Perfect Beat.

A Coats Choice three-year-old filly, Chicane is from Raewyn Coup (by Mossman), who had four wins from 16 starts.

Gatu has assembled a good strike rate with McCarroll. From 10 rides for the stable she has now registered four wins and two placings.

“I thought she would be a good chance,” said Gatu after unsaddling Chicane. “She won a trial here last month and she handles the wet ground.”

Gatu has ridden Chicane in each of her three trials (a win and two seconds) and two starts and has also been a regular rider of stablemate Calligraphy.

With three wins on the board this term, McCarroll is now well placed to better his record over recent seasons. He had four wins in both the last two seasons and his best tally in recent years was 10 in 2012-13.