Siggy Carr looked anything but a reluctant jockey, as she skilfully coaxed The Inevitable to a narrow win in the C.S.Hayes Stakes (Group 3) at Flemington.
The Tasmanian jockey made it five wins from as many rides on the diminutive gelding, relegating accomplished Victorians Damian Lane and Mark Zahra into the minor placings.
The Inevitable looked to be dwarfed by runner up Age Of Chivalry as the pair forged clear, but the little bloke wasn’t going to be outdone by the brawn of his rival.
Siggy, who can’t remember the last time anybody called her Sigrid, began her sequence on the son of Dundeel, with a three year old Maiden win at Mowbray last September.
Two more Mowbray wins followed in December and then it was off to Hobart to grab some black type in the listed Tasmanian Guineas. Trainer Scott Brunton immediately hatched a plan to mosey over to the mainland, with the C.S.Hayes and the Australian Guineas as his immediate targets.
Scott, winner of the last four Tasmanian training premierships, prepares his horses in an equine paradise at Seven Mile Beach, not far from Hobart Airport. “He has the pick of steady work in heavy sand or a strong gallop on the firm sand at low tide’, explained Siggy. “The horses walk to and from the beach, along beautiful sandy trails and are very contented animals. It’s so beautiful down there early morning”.
Siggy began riding work for her trainer dad Royston Carr at age fourteen. Other trainers were constantly seeking her help and it wasn’t uncommon for the talented youngster to ride twenty horses a morning. “This went on for years, without the slightest desire to become a jockey”, recalled Siggy. “I’m not exaggerating when I tell you, the thought of race riding never entered my head”.
Siggy Carr was twenty four years old when she was suddenly overtaken by the notion that she should do something constructive with her talents.
Royston Carr suggested he should officially indenture his daughter and she was happy to go along with it.
When you ride hundreds of horses, hundreds of kilometres on the training track, it’s inevitable that you’re going to develop an affinity with the animal. Few professional jockeys have had a better grounding than Siggy, and that foundation has stuck with her from the outset. It’s fair to say however, that her career could have finished before it started.
She was a little nervous, but wildly excited as she took a filly called Summer Downs into the gates at Elwick on the occasion of her first race ride. “We jumped away and just a few strides later one of my stirrup leathers snapped near the saddle”, recalled Siggy over the weekend. “I instinctively kicked my other foot out of the iron and tried to ease the filly out of the race. Luckily I was able to pull her up with no harm done, but it frightened the daylights out of me”.
Siggy burst into tears when she dismounted from Summer Downs and informed her father that she’d changed her mind about becoming a jockey. “He said OK make the decision right now. You either walk away and never come back or get on with it and put the broken leather behind you”, recalled his daughter. “In hindsight it was a good thing. To this day I’m constantly checking my leathers for any sign of fraying”.
Any misgivings about her decision were allayed just sixteen days later at Mowbray. Michael Voss, a trainer who had been very supportive of the young jockey, put Siggy on her first winner Rose Of Innocence in a 1600 metre Class 1.
Two years later young Carr carefully considered the benefits of moving to the mainland. She had a discussion with Bill Forrestal, head of the jockeys tutorship division at Thoroughbred Racing South Australia, who obviously canvassed a few Adelaide trainers. “I was stunned to see a message on Facebook from trainer John Hyam asking me to give him a call”, recalled the jockey.
Siggy was to spend eighteen rewarding months in Adelaide where her career gathered momentum. With tremendous support from John Hyam, Jon O’Connor, Leon Macdonald, Grant Young and others, she rode more than a hundred winners in eighteen months. With her 3KG city claim still intact, she had some great days in town including a four win haul on her very first Saturday at Morphettville.
She won Group 3 races on Last Bullet and Red Eclipse and even ducked home to win the Group 3 Hobart Cup on Geegees Blackflash. But her most prized accolade was her induction as Dux Of the SA Apprentices Academy for the 2014/15 season. Part of that prestigious award was an all-expenses paid trip to Singapore, with the assurance of some race rides.
Siggy had a whirlwind three weeks in the island-city state and looks back on it as a fascinating experience. She failed to ride a winner, but notched a few placings and was delighted to ride a few horses which were well in the market.
She couldn’t wait to get back to Tassie. On arrival, her partner Troy Baker surprised her with a gleaming engagement ring, and best of all Siggy was reunited with her eleven year old son Dylan. The youngster had lived with his grandparents, while Mum honoured her South Australian commitments. “Dylan keeps an eye on whatever Troy and I ride, but he’s far more interested in computers than he is in horse racing”, says Siggy.
The jockeys are based at historic Oatlands, a lovely little hamlet halfway between Hobart and Launceston. Siggy realised a long held ambition last year when granted her jockey/trainer licence, and is away to a good start with five winners since last October.
Trainer Carr has ten horses in work currently, all based at the nearby Brighton Training Centre which provides a swimming pool, treadmill and 2000 metre sand training circuit. A harness horse training track is situated inside the sand track, and the thoroughbreds often work alongside their standardbred cousins.
Troy is a native South Australian but didn’t need much coaxing when Siggy suggested a move to Tasmania. Both are very prominent on the jockey charts currently occupying second and third spots on the premiership ladder. Siggy finished second last season to Craig Newitt, with Troy in third spot.
The new year finds Siggy Carr at peace with the world. She’s happily settled back on the island she loves, with a caring future husband and a teenage son she idolises.
Troy and Dylan will give her the space to dream a little over the next ten or eleven days. The other boy in her life will be constantly in her thoughts, as the countdown continues to the Group 1 Australian Guineas.
The little warrior from Seven Mile Beach has a tough task ahead and will need a few favours. He ticks a few boxes by the same token. He’s a streetfighter, his preparation has been flawless and he’ll be ridden by a young lady who has the right temperament for a Group 1 stoush at historic Flemington.
Siggy Carr and The Inevitable will be joined in the Guineas by the wonderful filly Mystic Journey and Anthony Darmanin to give Tasmania a strong presence. Just imagine if one or both look a hope in the final stages. Tassie will reverberate from South East Cape to Boundary Islet.
(Banner image courtesy Racing Photos)