Ace Lawson-Carroll gets first career victory

By Liz Whelan

28 Jul 2021

Ace Lawson-Carroll gets first career victoryAce Lawson-Carroll urges Crystallize over the line at Te Rapa last Saturday

“I spend a lot of time on the mechanical horse. And the first thing I do after I get home from the races, is go over all of my race replays.”
Ace Lawson-Carroll is a name you should take notice of.
The talented apprentice has kicked off his career with a bang, and based on the riding prowess that he’s demonstrated at the races so far, his future looks bright.
“I’d like to win the New Zealand Derby one day. And the New Zealand Cup,” he told RaceForm on Monday.
He had his first raceday ride on 10 July, when he finished second aboard the Danny Walker-trained Crystallize. Just two weeks later, the pair combined again at Te Rapa to provide Lawson-Carroll with his first career victory.
It was a positive ride by the 16-year-old; he rode the horse forward early, and they led throughout over the 1500m journey, with the son of Iffraaj and Crystalina winning by over four lengths on the line.
“I was stoked and overwhelmed after the race,” Lawson-Carroll says. “It’s really good to get that first win.
“I wasn’t exactly confident, but I thought the horse was a good chance. I actually thought I was going too fast during the race!” he laughs.
It was just his fifth raceday ride. But when you watch the race replay, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were watching an experienced jockey of many years; Lawson-Carroll’s balance during the race is unwavering, which he attributes to a lot of practice in his downtime.
“I spend a lot of time on the mechanical horse. And the first thing I do after I get home from the races, is go over all of my race replays.”
Lawson-Carroll grew up in Whakatane in a non-racing family. They had a “hack or two” in the paddock, but “not much racing-wise”.
“I was actually going to Byerley Park to watch a morning’s work, and Shaun Clotworthy saw me up in the tower.
“He offered me a weekend job, and things started from there. That was back in about 2018 or 2019. Then one day, Shaun took me to the races, and he asked me if I wanted to be a jockey.”
He became indentured to Shaun and Emma Clotworthy and because he had no racehorse riding experience, he effectively started from scratch.
“Everyone has helped me,” says Lawson-Carroll. “The Clotworthys always help me out whenever I need it. Hamish McNeill has helped me out quite a bit too and Danny Walker has been a good support since I started riding.
“Kelly McCulloch (nee Myers) has also been awesome with tidying me up and giving me tips and pointers on what to do. She’s a mentor to me.”
The four-kilogram claimer walks around at 48kgs and has the luxury of eating whatever he likes. He’s left school, and now dedicates his life full-time to the racing caper, living on the Clotworthys’ property.
“My family is quite happy about me being a jockey. They came to watch me have my first ride, and they follow what I’m doing, but they don’t have a lot of time to get to the races.
“On a typical day, I get up at 6am, I saddle a couple of horses and then ride until about 10am. I work in the afternoons as well, when I muck out boxes and stuff like that.
“I also ride at the trials every so often. Sometimes trainers ask me to ride a couple of horses at the trials and I always hope that that will lead to raceday rides.
“I’ve picked up a ride for Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman at Cambridge on Wednesday,” he adds excitedly.
“It’s really cool to get a ride for a big stable like that.”