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RACING: Longsdon plotting a new road to success with team of youngsters
Travelling into Charlie Longsdon’s Chipping Norton yard, visitors now encounter a smart new driveway.
Gone is the country road full of potholes, and in its place is an impressive half-mile stretch of pristine tarmac.
It may not be a feat of highway engineering to match the M40, but it’s a further indication that Longsdon is determined to stay on the path to the top as another jumps seasons gathers pace.
Never one to stand still, the 37-year-old handler also has plans for a new barn at Hull Farm Stables to help house his burgeoning string – which now stands around the 80 mark – and a third horse-walker.
The majority of horses that he’ll be pinning his faith in this season are youngsters.
With last winter’s severe weather, Longsdon didn’t hit the lofty targets he’d set for the campaign.
Even so he still recorded a highly-respectable 54 winners, and prize-money totalling £343,229.
Now he’s had a clear-out, bringing in a host of horses full of untapped potential.
“There are a lot youngsters,” said Longsdon, who welcomed more than 250 visitors to his annual open morning on Saturday.
“There has been a big overhaul in terms of horses. We have a lot of bumper horses and novice hurdlers and plenty to look forward to.
“Last season the first half was great, the second half was poor and hopefully we can get through that, although we still had over 50 winners.”
And things are are already looking up with Drop Out Joe’s win at Uttoxeter on Sunday under stable jockey Noel Fehily taking his tally for this term to 16.
Longsdon’s team of jockeys are completed by conditional riders Kielan Woods and Charlie Deutsch, plus amateur Claire Hart, with the trio treating the open day visitors to an exhibition in the outdoor school.
Up To Something, Cadoudoff, Germany Calling and Loudmouth were among the sextet who were put through their paces, and Longsdon is expecting them all to make their mark this term.
Longsdon then paraded around 40 horses, including his big hope, Pendra, who showed smart form over hurdles last winter, and will go novice chasing with one of the championship races at the Cheltenham Festival his long-term target.
“We think the world of him and have very high hopes of him,” said the trainer, who is targeting more than 70 winners and to break through the £500,000 barrier in prize-money.
Ely Brown and Superior Quality are promising novice chasing recruits, while Hannibal The Great, rated by Longsdon as the yard’s best bumper horse last term, and Wadswick Court are exciting hurdling newcomers.
Battle Born, Our Kaempfer and Kilcooley are other names worth noting when they appear on the racecourse.
Of the older brigade, Longsdon says Pete The Feat, last season’s star with a five-timer, will find it tougher, but he hopes the nine-year-old can maintain his progress to line up in the Crabbie’s Grand National.
There are also high hopes for Vulcanite, who needs good ground to show his best form, and Grandads Horse, who is set to run in Market Rasen’s big race on Saturday.
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