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  • Picket Fence


Riccarton-based trainer Andrew Carston is happy to have exceed the goal he set himself for the 2018/19 racing season, whilst maintaining a consistent win count.

This time last year Carston, who had just won the Gavelhouse Newcomer to Training Award, stated that his goal for the new season was win a stakes race.

“It was my best season yet,” Carston said. “Not by number of wins but I wanted to get a stakes winner this season and I got one – well two really, a Listed and a Group Three win.”

The stakes wins came in the form of Miss Federer, a filly that he selected as a yearling for just $10,000. She won both the Listed Barneswood Farm Welcome Stakes and the Gr.3 Woburn Farm 2YO Classic.

The daughter of Swiss Ace’s season was unfortunately cut short when a bone chip was discovered in her off foreleg while she was being prepared for the Gr.2 Breeders Stakes at Matamata.

She’s since had minor surgery and Carston reports that she is back in training.

“She’ll trial towards the end of August,” he said. “She’s come through the surgery perfect and she’s just started fast work again.”

Now in just his fifth full season as a trainer, Carston is paving a consistent path, with a solid 20 to 22 winners in each of his four completed seasons to date.

“I haven’t had any more than 30 horses in work at a time so it’s a good achievement,” Carston said.

“I don’t plan to get any bigger so the focus will remain on the quality of runners rather than quantity.”

Carston is happy with the equine team he has in work for the new season and he’s confident of another good season ahead.

“The old stable stalwarts are back in work,” he said. “Severine goes pretty good and Hee’s Our Secret is consistent too.

“I’ve got a bunch of just turned three-year-olds and nine just turned two-year-olds which is the most I’ve ever had so that’s pretty exciting.

“It’s so important to have young horses coming into the stable.”

Carston will kick off the new season on his home course tomorrow with Suggestive Loox in the Brian Wilson 51 Years a Farrier at Riccarton Premier (1400m) and I’llav Bubbles in the Speight’s Premier (1800m).

“Suggestive Loox is seven-years-old now and she’s going as good as she’s ever gone,” Carston said.

“This will be her second to last start and then she’s going back to Rich Hill Stud, who were kind enough to extend her lease for National Week, she’s an each way chance for sure.

“I’llav Bubbles won at the National meeting last year and I thought her run at Ashburton was showing us she’s on peak for it again this year. I think she’s come right at the right time she’s just waiting for rain.”

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