Carroll Street was smashed from pillar to post last start and trainer Douglas Whyte is concerned punters may again not see the best of his exciting four-year-old from gate 12 at Happy Valley on Wednesday night.
Sent out a $7.30 second elect behind boom sprinter Nervous Witness on October 1, Carroll Street was severely checked and was lucky not to have been put through the rail at the 600m before tailing the field home.
Whyte sent his speedster, who suffered a lacerated front leg in the incident, back to the trials ahead of the Class Three Tai Tam Handicap (1,200m) and is confident he is ready to return to the races after hitting the line nicely to salute in a hit-out down the Sha Tin straight a couple of weeks ago.
“It was a nasty incident, it could have been a lot worse but fortunately he’s pulled through it OK. I gave him a trial just to get his confidence back and he seemed to trial with a bit of purpose,” Whyte said.
The Sha Tin straight is where Carroll Street has done all his race-day work so far, accumulating three wins and a third from five career starts, and he will have to do it the hard way in his first attempt around the bend at the midweek meeting.
Whyte is confident the gelding will handle the Valley after moving well around the city circuit in a trial in the lead-up to his debut last year, but knows the wide barrier could create any number of headaches.
“It’s going to be a bit complicated from there, he’s got his work cut out and obviously it’s his first start at the Valley so it’s not going to be an easy or uncomplicated introduction,” the South African trainer said.
“He’s trialled there so there’s no reason he won’t handle the Valley. He’s got a lovely turn of foot and I think the early pace of the Valley races could play into his hands.
This is impressive!— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) May 12, 2021
In Sha Tin's first turf race run at night since 2014, Carroll Street & @JerryChau15 slip away to hand the unbeaten Winner Method his first taste of defeat. #HKracing pic.twitter.com/XC8t48oqvV
“But from that horror gate we might have to ride him upside down or he might get caught three wide with no cover and suddenly you don’t see the true reflection of what he can do.”
One thing working in Whyte’s favour – besides the fact Carroll Street clearly has ability and could be too good regardless – is that he has his former apprentice Jerry Chau Chun-lok in the saddle.
Chau produced what Whyte labelled a “graduation ride” from barrier 10 aboard God Of Dragon at Happy Valley on Sunday – albeit over 2,200m – and the trainer hopes the jockey’s focus is just as sharp come Wednesday night.
“He will have to bring his A-game and have his head screwed on for this ride,” Whyte said.
Carroll Street’s opponents include class dropper Scores Of Fun, David Hall’s consistent galloper Quadruple Double and second-starter Nearly Fine, who ran a nice fourth in his Hong Kong debut under Jack Wong Ho-nam and will be ridden by Vincent Ho Chak-yiu this time out.
Carroll Street is one of five runners for Whyte at the season’s 16th meeting, with the third-season trainer also saddling up Lumen Baba, Savvy Nine, Nothing New and Turin Redstar.