All-weather ace Captain Joy in good shape in retirement

Finals Day victory over Sovereign Debt was a highlight for ‘gentleman of a horse’.

  • Thursday 16 April
  • News
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Captain Joy lit up Lingfield back in 2016 when he got the better of fellow grey Sovereign Debt in a thrilling finish to the All-Weather Mile Championships.

Trained by Tracey Collins, the Dark Angel gelding excelled on synthetic surfaces, winning 10 times and being placed on a further five occasions in 24 starts.

A regular at Dundalk during his career, Captain Joy had his first Finals Day spin in 2015 when he found Grey Mirage and Sovereign Debt too good in the Mile division.

However, he avenged that defeat in style the following year, despite having to undergo colic surgery in the autumn of 2015 which precipitated a 230-day absence before a victorious return in a warm-up event.

Partnered by his regular ally Pat Smullen, he kept on all the way to the line for to beat Sovereign Debt by half a length, in what was by far his biggest win in terms of prize-money.

Captain Joy scored just once more in 12 subsequent starts, with Collins calling time on his career at Dundalk in January 2019, shortly after owner Herb Stanley died.

Captain Joy remains Collins’ Conyngham Lodge yard, where he is reported to be thriving in retirement.

The trainer said: “He’s great, really well in fact.

“He’s the first horse that lets you know he’s there in the morning. We still take his temperature and everything like we do with the others – he’s treated just like a racehorse, but he just doesn’t do the work any more.

“We don’t ride him out though, as he didn’t really take to the quieter life of being a riding horse.

“He goes out with his pony, Comet, most of the time, or he might go out with one of the fillies if they just need a bit of a change. He certainly does a different job now.”

Collins has fond memories of Captain Joy’s racing days, and his association with Smullen.

She added: “He was just a gentleman of a horse to train, he was very consistent for us. His owners were lovely and he had such a great relationship with Pat Smullen, too.

“He was a star of a horse and it’s great he’s enjoying his retirement.”

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