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RACING: Longsdon looks to hit new heights
With a mobile phone at his ear, Charlie Longsdon strides into the office at his Hull Farm stables, near Chipping Norton.
Having completed the call, a warm welcome is granted and it’s quickly down to business. Longsdon may give the impression of a trainer in a hurry – but there’s always time for visitors.
Indeed, around 350 racing fans attended his recent open day, which raised £700 for Racing Welfare.
In just six years since taking out a licence, he has made impressive strides up the training ladder.
Last season, he exceeded his own lofty expectations by sending out 69 winners and capturing prize-money totalling £382,762.
It placed him 13th in the standings – and as a new campaign starts to move up a gear, he wants to climb higher.
“We have plenty of horses to run in decent races this year,” he says.
“Prize-money is the key. I don’t expect to improve on numerical winners, but we want to try and get through the £500,000 barrier.”
Being hailed as the rising star of the National Hunt training ranks seems to sit easily with Longsdon.
“It is fine,” he says. “The pressure is slightly increased because we have got to do better.
“It is great that we are considered the future of National Hunt racing, but it also means we have got to keep producing the goods – if we don’t produce the goods we don’t get that tag.”
With Longsdon’s standing growing, new owners have brought new horses, with his string increasing from 60 to 75.
Frisco Depot, the winner of two novice chases in Ireland last term including a Grade 2 event, has joined the yard from Dessie Hughes in Ireland after being bought by a syndicate headed by Robert Waley-Cohen.
“The long-term plan is the Grand National,” says Longsdon. “He will go for a graduation chase at Carlisle on November 12.”
Vulcanite, who was already in the yard, has been purchased by champion owner JP McManus, and is set to reappear in the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham on November 18, with Longsdon believing the five-year-old has a “very fair” handicap mark.
And there’s also a newly-recruited stable jockey in Noel Fehily, who partnered Longsdon’s biggest winner last term when Paintball captured the Imperial Cup at Sandown.
Fehily then broke his right leg in three places when State Of Play fell in the John Smith’s Grand National, but is now close to a return.
Up To Something, who took his unbeaten record to four when making a winning debut over hurdles at Uttoxeter on Sunday, Spirit Of Shankly and Pendra top the trainer’s list of younger horses to follow.
Having just completed the lowdown on his string, Longsdon’s mobile rings again.
It’s one of his principal owners and he marches outside to take the call – a trainer definitely going places.
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