Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Carroll on Song with Benbyas

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Carroll on Song with Benbyas

Article excerpt

Byline: By Doug Moscrop

Owners can make or break a trainer as Declan Carroll knows only too well. He's had first hand experience of the many pitfalls involved with the business. When he first held a licence, operating at Southwell racecourse, he was eventually forced to quit because of money owed to him.

"I had some owners from Ireland who were gamblers and you were always under pressure from them," recalls Carroll.

"When we were having winners and they were having a touch everything was okay, but as soon as they dried up and we had a quiet spell, which happens to every trainer every year, they stopped paying their bills and put me out of business."

However, that's water under the bridge now as Carroll gets a second chance of making it as a trainer from his base at Warthill, near York, where he rents two American-style barns from Mel Brittain, who now runs a greatly-reduced string.

Sandwiched between going bust and making a fresh start in North Yorkshire, Carroll spent some time as assistant to Les Eyre at Hambleton House, on top of Sutton Bank.

When Eyre retired to Spain, primarily for health reasons, some of his owners joined forces with Bryan Smart who bought the well-appointed yard and moved from Lambourn.

Others remained loyal to Carroll, including Market Weighton farmer Chris Stephenson, who sent him Benbyas, named after his grandson Ben, whose dad is Yorkshire cricketer David Byas. "I wanted to give Declan a chance and help him as much as I could. He knew the horse well and that was also important," says Stephenson.

Carroll is relieved. "I have some good owners here. They have stood by me. They are not gamblers. I am not saying they don't like a bet, but it's not the main reason why they have a horse in training."

First priority is to get established and, although there are no short cuts to success, a big race winner goes a long way to putting a stable on the racing map.

Benbyas has star qualities and could be just the one to do his trainer a good turn. …

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