Pat Carbery is arguably riding in career-best form.  Since last November he has won a stack of major features including the G1 Kingston Town Classic, Perth Cup, Ted Van Heemst Stakes, Karrakatta Plate, Gimcrack Stakes, Fairetha Stakes, Lee Steere Classic, Detonator Stakes, Bunbury Cup, Supremacy Stakes, Roberts Stakes, Magic Millions WA 3YO Trophy, Geraldton Cup and the Jericho Cup qualifier.

Earlier this week he caught up with The Races WA and Julio Santarelli to reflect on what has been, by any measure, a red-hot period in the saddle.

JS: Are you enjoying riding today more than at any other time during your career?

PC: Definitely. Without a doubt. I think when you are younger and you get the wins you probably don’t appreciate it as much. You don’t appreciate how hard it is to get good rides in good races and win those races. You don’t appreciate the simple things in life let alone the success and that. You sort of take things for granted, that’s on and off the track.

JS: And with that success the opportunities open.

PC: There are a lot of good jockeys in WA and a lot of competitive ones. A bit of success can create more opportunities, but it’s hard work as well and the cards have to fall your way too. Plenty of people work hard and ride well but haven’t had that opportunity to prove themselves. I’ve been lucky to get those opportunities

JS: Are you riding as well as you ever had?

PC: I think I am a bit. But I’m enjoying the fact that I have been a lot more consistent over the last 12 months. Confidence is a massive player in that. It doesn’t matter what sport or athlete, if they are full of confidence and on song it just happens. Confidence just keeps growing. When you are confident you are more relaxed and it just seems to flow.

JS: In the last six to eight months, you have won a swag of major races. Do you get time or have the inclination to reflect on the success you have enjoyed?

PC: Obviously, I know I’ve had a good run in the past six months but I didn’t really realise how many races I’ve been able to win, the bigger races. I sort of thought, ‘wow’, like I know I’ve been having a good run but that was cool. I still pinch myself a bit. I’m really lucky and appreciating what I’ve been able to achieve.

JS: Let’s touch on the good horse (Amelia’s Jewel). How exciting.

PC: Just when you mentioned her name I got goose bumps and the hairs on the back of my neck just stood up. That’s what those horses do to you. I had ridden her quite a bit in track work and I never once assumed I was getting the ride on her in races. I don’t usually ride for Walshy (Peter) and I was really just hopeful. I rode her in the first trial and there was never a mention but when I rode her in the second trial Simon (Miller) said he (Walshy) was happy to have you ride her in races. I was very happy but relieved. Then it was onto the next stage to get her to the races, two-year-old’s can chop and change, go shin sore or maybe not handle things. We were lucky that everything stayed in one piece and we got to the grand final.

JS: There was a fair amount of sacrifice on your behalf leading into the Karrakatta?

PC: Yeah, but everybody makes sacrifices in life. We knew what we were chasing and had our eyes on the prize. It wasn’t really a sacrifice at all when it comes off and if it didn’t come off, all well and good. I just didn’t want her to go to the races without me. I have a soft spot for that horse, always have, even before she trialled, there is something about her and we get along good. I don’t know if she thinks the same about me but the stable staff even say you give that horse more love than I give my partner, Jess. She puts her head down and cuddles into you before you work her. She is really a sweet horse.

JS: It’s easy to form a strong bond with her.

PC: Any jockey will tell you for some reason you click with a horse. There is no real reason why but for some reason I click with her, there is something about her.

JS: At some stage in the future she will be racing over east. You would love to maintain the association?

PC: Obviously, I hope to be, but I don’t like to get too far ahead of ourselves. It’s just really good to be associated with a horse like her and it’s exciting to see what her future is going to bring. I think she is untapped, really. For what she has done to date it’s pretty exciting. Hopefully, one day I can tell you she is the best horse I have been on.

JS: You have a great association with Simon Miller, but what about Peter Walsh, it turned into an important connection.

PC: It was tough for Walshy. I had never ridden for him until riding the filly this preparation. I actually had never met him until I won the Gimcrack. I knew who he was and had seen him about at the races, but never actually met him face to face which was quite weird. He’s just a normal bloke and loves his racing obviously.

JS: What were your stress levels before the Karrakatta? You are on the raging favourite, who most people considered over the line. How did you cope with that level of expectation?

PC: I don’t think I realised how much pressure there was.  There was never any pressure from Simon, never any pressure from Walshy. Not until the next day when I went to Pinjarra did I realise how tired I was. It was obviously quite draining, but I knew what horse I had under me and she turned up in good order. You have to give credit to Simon and all the staff. She made it easy for me. I just had to give her cover and she was going to do the rest. To be honest there was pressure there, but in those big races you get into a zone. There was probably more pressure in getting there and not getting Covid to be honest. Once I got my RAT test and I knew I wasn’t positive to COVID it was happy days.

JS: You might be understating the pressure you faced. Externally, away from the filly, you had to deal with the sad passing of your grandmother.

PC: To be honest it helped me focus more, especially talking to mum going to the races. She said go out there and do your job and nanna will be looking out for you.  She was a great supporter of mine and all her grandkids and great grandkids. We knew that nanna was at the end of her life and she had such a beautiful life. She left us with great memories and taught us a lot about how to live our lives. I just knew as much as I wanted to do it for everyone else, I wanted to do it for nan.

JS: How was the filly pre-race?

PC: She was very relaxed after her prelims and very happy. She was very, very relaxed behind the barriers. For a young horse she has got a good brain. She jumped really smart and once I asked her to relax she was able to sneak through. I kept telling myself be patient, be patient, I’m not sure if I was saying it out loud or not, but once she balanced up she covered them that easily. It was amazing.

JS: Big race, big moment, big reward. Was the after party just as big?

PC: We caught up with Walshy and his family and friends. I was pretty knackered and it was just good to chill out and relax a little bit. Covid makes it hard but I generally don’t go out a great deal and like to take it easy with the family.

JS: Now, a little bit tongue in cheek here. The financial rewards have also been pretty good in recent months. How are you doing in this capacity. Are you rewarding yourself, maybe indulging in expensive toys, a new car perhaps, a Lamborghini?

PC: Ha, ha, ha, ha. That’s hilarious. 😊No Lamborghini’s in our house. I don’t even need a Ferrari if I can ride one. Just because she doesn’t have a badge on her, doesn’t mean we don’t know what motor she has got.

JS: Back to serious matters 😊: Sunday, the Northam Stakes, you partner Cup Night, a horse that is raced by your family and trained by your great mate and one of nature’s great human beings, Bernie Miller. This horse pulls at your heart strings also.

PC: I’m looking forward to it. He won this race last year which was a great thrill. He’s going well and his gallop (Tuesday) was good. He’s as good as can be first up and Bernie is happy with him. He gives our family a great thrill and picks us up. He is part of the family as much as anyone.

JS: I’m back on about relationships and friendships, but you and Bernie are pretty tight.

PC: We check up on each other every single day. There is not a day that we don’t speak. He’s a gentleman, a hard worker, very hands on and treats his horses like his kids. Sometimes he’s a bit cautious and looks after them too much but if that’s his worse trait it’s not too bad.

JS: Thanks for your time, Pat, continued good success.

PC: Not a problem, anytime.