Patience paying off for Campbell's Longtga
MDN PLATE: A relative late-comer to racing, the Danielle Campbell-trained Longtga, has had less racing experience than most other five-year-olds, but the gelding's five starts under Campbell have been impressive, finishing in the placings four times.
Campbell's husband and foreman Robbie said Longtga had needed time in preparation to develop and mature mentally, and that the National Jockeys Trust Maiden Plate (1100m) could be the time the gelding pulls it all together.
"In his previous starts he was doing it all on his own back, it was all natural ability, and he was a long way from being mentally ready,” Robbie said.
"Now that he has learnt a bit and grown up and matured, hopefully he can get it all together.
"We wanted to give him a bit of time because he is a nice horse and moving forward we wanted to give him all the time in the world.
"He started racing a bit later on in life, so it was best if we gave him an easy preparation to grow and develop in the head more than anything.”
Today's race will be the first start for Longtga since February, and Robbie said he was looking forward to seeing how the gelding had developed when he jumps from barrier nine.
"I think he will go all right, hoping to get him back on track and put a good showing in,” Robbie said. "We're expecting him to race well. There's one or two handy ones in that race too so it'll be a good showing to find out exactly where we are for the prep.”
Experienced hoop Ben Looker will take the reins of Longtga this afternoon in his first race meeting at the Clarence River Jockey Club since being involved in a horror fall on Ramornie Day.
Robbie said Looker had returned to racing well, taking up runs in Lismore, Casino and the Gold Coast.
Danielle and Robbie have recently taken up part-ownership of Longtga, and Robbie said the couple were happy to invest in ownership alongside the Doughertys, who have been decades-long supporters of racing in Grafton.