June 16, 2023 National Trotguide
ONE of harness racing’s most successful trainers of trotters in New South Wales, Peter Carson passed away last weekend after a short illness.
He was 83.
Born on December 19, 1939, Peter Carson was educated at Marist College in Kogarah.
In his early years he enjoyed the adrenaline and success of racing stock cars and at the speedway.
He actually imported a considerable number of specialized cars into the country and garaged his own private collection.
Come January 1982, Carson was part of the team involved in Mark Read’s famous massive betting plunge in the gallops at Canterbury.
Getting Closer, trained in Queensland by Henry Davis and ridden by great jockey Malcolm Johnston was backed from 100/1 into 7/1 fifth favourite and scored an easy win.
Over a million dollars was taken out of the rings around Australia.
As Carson himself once remarked: “It was a big day, well executed and we won heaps.”
In 1990, Peter Carson began importing a few trotters into Sydney.
He decided to train them himself, started with a bang and the winners kept flowing.
The fun started with talented trotting giant, Ironbark, who won 10 races, including two at Harold Park and was awarded 1991 NSW Trotters Association’s Trotter of the Year.
Over the next 15 years, Carson trained a team of smart trotters and won many races over many years in New South Wales but he also tasted success in Victoria and South Australia.
Apart from his favourite, Ironbark, his star trotter was undoubtedly Lord Whizz Bang.
A winner of 25 races (including eight at Harold Park and two in Melbourne) and $107,000 in stakes, Lord Whizz Bang won the 1992 SA Trotters Derby, 1992 Albury trotters Cup, 1995 Shepparton and Chris Howe Trotters Cups in Victoria as well as two heats of the 1994 Trotters Inter Dominion at Harold Park (fifth in the Final).
Another star performer was the locally bred, Sophocles. A winner of 22 races (including seven at Harold Park), Sophocles ran a gallant third in the 2004 Inter Dominion Grand Final at Albion Park.
Some of Peter Carson’s other successful trotters included:
- Tamra Nightingale (16 wins – including nine at Harold Park and the Lightfoot Laurels at Moonee Valley)
- French Wine (11 wins, including on at Harold Park and two in Adelaide and 1993 Kilmore Trotters Cup)
- William Pride (10 wins, including six at Harold Park)
- Rosanna Hest (10 wins, including six at Harold Park and two in Melbourne)
- Torado Glitter (10 wins, including two at Harold Park)
- Angel Force (9 wins – including one at Harold Park)
- Highland Ceilidh (8 wins, including three at Harold Park)
- Weston Gee (8 wins – including three at Harold Park and one in Melbourne)
- Midnight Moon, Maoris Tootsie, Barry Johns Choice, Our Curly’s Pride, Kano Fame, Bold Dee Jay and Carso Zeus (all seven wins each)
- Yankee Reward, Carso Brady, Sun Jewel, Precious Carso (6 wins each)
- Brock, Happy Genuis, Walt’s Task, Arnie Hest, Croydon Pride (5 wins each)
Polar Iceman, who won four races, gave his good mate, the late Bill Hansell his last winning drive at Harold Park on September 20, 2002.
Peter Carson also had a deft hand training pacers.
Some of his best were: Gypsy Vance (four wins – winner of the 1994 JD Watts Memorial, Bulli and Taree Cups), Our Bugsey (eight wins) and Rua Raumati (five wins, including the 2000 Canberra Oaks)
Peter Carson formed a great combination with his wife, Catherine, a successful reinswoman in her own right, who drive many of the team and tasted enormous success all around Australia.
Peter Carson enjoyed his trips to Adelaide, winning the prestigious ‘Gramel series’ in 1992 with French Wine and then again in 2003 with Barry Johns Choice and he was also leading trainer at the trotters’ carnival there.
Home in New South Wales, Carson was proud of his team that won NSW ‘Trotter of the Year’ titles, the highest honour, 1990/91 Ironbark, 1991/92 French Wine, Lord Whizz Bang in 1993/94 and again in 1995/96 and 1996/97 with Rosanna Hest.
In all, records show that Peter Carson trained 522 winners from just over 4000 starters. He amassed 822 placings as well. And 90 of his winners were at Metropolitan level.
His biggest achievement that he was so proud of was winning the NSW Trotters Association’s “Trainer of the Year” title for 12 consecutive seasons, namely calendar year 1991 through to 2002/03.
As Peter said, “to win the trainer’s award was always a highlight, the opposition is tough, the likes of Peter Sullivan, David Wonson snr, Mick Challice, John Beeby, John Lewis, Steve Rando, Sid Badger, Greg Kelly, and the like. We all had good teams and the racing was always tough.”
Peter Carson was awarded Life Membership of the Trotters Association of NSW in 2017/18.
Sadly, illness crept up on Peter in recent times before he passed away surrounded by his loving family on June 12.
Peter Carson’s funeral will take place on Monday, June 26 at 11am at St Patrick’s Church, Albert Street, Berry, followed by internment at the Berry Cemetery.
Refreshments will follow at the Shoalhaven Heads Golf Club.
National Trotguide and Club Menangle directors and staff offer our condolences to Peter’s wife Catherine, and his family and friends.
– PETER COLLIER