During his career as a jockey, especially in the early 2000s, Paul Carberry was seen as one of the better horseman on the Irish circuit. Known for his very patient style, bringing horses through late, sometimes never taking them off the bridle, he was a magician in the saddle when it went right, of course.
Many will remember the ride he gave Harchibald in the Champion Hurdle, a tricky ride but still one that will probably be mentioned to Carberry for the rest of his life. He had plenty of success, though, at the Cheltenham Festival and also in the Grand National.
Born on February 9, 1974, Carberry was in a big racing family, his dad was a trainer, and of the siblings he had, only one didn’t go into racing as either a jockey or trainer.
It was a family affair in the Grand National, as Carberry won on a horse that was trained by his dad, Tommy Carberry. It was the first Irish success for some time, and coming in 1999, it was a real moment where Paul announced himself on a big stage and would go on to have plenty of success after this.
Paul Carberry Grand National Wins
- 1999 - Bobbyjo trained by Thomas Carberry
|2015||Cause of Causes||8||£3,600||Gordon Elliott|
|2014||Monbeg Dude||7||£6,800||Michael Scudamore Jr|
|2013||Chicago Grey||Fence 30 - Pulled Up||-||Gordon Elliott|
|2012||Chicago Grey||Fence 5 - Brought Down||-||Gordon Elliott|
|2010||King John's Castle||Fence 1 - Refused||-||Arthur Moore|
|2008||King John's Castle||2||£169,760||Arthur Moore|
|2007||Dun Doire||Fence 27 - Pulled Up||-||Tony Martin|
|2006||Sir Oj||Fence 22 - Fell||-||Noel Meade|
|2005||Colonel Rayburn||Fence 27 - Pulled Up||-||Paul Nolan|
|2004||Joss Naylor||Fence 19 - Pulled Up||-||Jonjo O’Neill|
|2003||Ad Hoc||Fence 19 - Unseated Rider||-||Paul Nicholls|
|2002||Ad Hoc||Fence 27 - Brought Down||-||Paul Nicholls|
|1998||Decyborg||Fence 27 - Pulled Up||-||Martin Pipe|
|1997||Buckboard Bounce||4||£14,535||G W Richards|
|1996||Three Brownies||6||-||Michael “Mouse” Morris|
|1994||Rust Never Sleeps||Fence 27 - Unseated Rider||-||Thomas Carberry|
Winning The Grand National On Bobbyjo
The 1999 Grand National was won by the Irish, the first time for more than two decades that they had won the race. The winner was a great horse, a typical National runner, and looking at how the betting market shaped up beforehand, one with plenty of stable confidence behind him.
Starting the morning as an outsider, Bobbyjo was backed all morning and into the afternoon. He set off in the race and was returned an SP of just 10/1, showing how much money was placed on the runner. There was a lot of talk around the yard of confidence, and it certainly showed in the market.
The race had just 32 runners, with a small field, but when we got towards the end of the contest, there was only really going to be one winner. At the final fence, Bobbyjo flew over, and that was enough to put the race to bed in itself, however, he went on to kick clear up the run-in, much to the delight of the Carberry family and those who had backed the horse.
A winning distance of 10 lengths was recorded, which would have been even bigger had Carberry not eased up riding to celebrate as he crossed the finishing line.
Jumping ability and stamina got the horse home, and when you look in the formbook, it was clear to see that he had both of those in abundance. A year before his Grand National win in 1998, Bobbyjo won the Irish Grand National, jumping very well and staying on strongly over a slightly shorter trip, showing that Aintree was always going to be within his reach.
Bobbyjo would return a year later to try and defend his crown, but too much weight on his back put paid to his chance. He did complete the course again, though, finishing 11th with Paul Carberry once again taking the ride.
The closest that Paul would get to another win in the race would come years later when he was in the prime of his success in Ireland. King John’s Castle was the horse, trained by Arthur Moore, who is Carberry’s uncle, and the pair finished second in the 2008 renewal of the race.
Success With Noel Meade
While his Grand National success was based around trainers who were also members of his family, the most successful period of Carberry’s riding career came thanks to his relationship with Noel Meade.
This partnership remained intact until Carberry retired from race riding in 2016, and the pair had many big race winners, but Harchibald was undoubtedly the biggest name they connected with. Carberry won five Grade One races on Harchibald, and while the pair had great success, their loss in the 2005 Champion Hurdle to Hardy Eustace will be the moment they are forever remembered for.
Retirement After Injury Problems
On August 9, 2016, Paul Carberry announced his retirement from race riding, citing injury problems. He suffered a leg injury at Listowel when falling in September 2015 and never fully recovered from that for the year after.
It was at this moment where Carberry felt that he could no longer ride to the best of his ability because of the injury where he decided to call it a day.
A win in the Grand National made sweeter because it was for his father, combined with 14 Cheltenham Festival winners, multiple Grade One successes, and many big race wins in his native Ireland, all left Carberry with a very strong CV from his racing days.
A master horseman in the saddle and a Grand National winner to show he was tough enough to succeed under tough conditions.