Peloton scored his first victory at Te Rapa last week. Photo credit: Kenton Wright (Race Images)
Andrew Campbell is hoping Peloton’s win at Te Rapa last week is the start of a well-overdue change of luck for his Cambridge stable.
Campbell has suffered a series of major setbacks since shifting to Cambridge just under two years ago after a highly successful innings during his 23 years in Opaki, a period in which he enjoyed highlights with such stakes winners as dual Group One winner and subsequent prominent sire Tavistock, Werther, Waldorf, Bob’s Boy and Longchamp.
“It’s been a case of one thing after another going wrong,” Campbell said. “I had two viruses go through the stables and in the end the only way was to tip the horses out.
“It’s been so frustrating, but I’m very fortunate to have very loyal owners stick by me. Tommy (Heptinstall) and the boys have been so supportive.
“When I first shifted up I couldn’t have wished for a better start with Gobstopper winning the New Zealand Cup (Gr.3, 3200m) at Riccarton as my first starter, but then everything went wrong.
“It’s been such a frustrating time, but hopefully we’re back on track. I’ve got 10 in work and they’re a lovely young team of horses showing a lot of promise.”
Campbell struggled through last season with two winners in New Zealand, the second one being Gobstopper in a maiden hurdle at Te Aroha. He then took Gobstopper to Victoria and the son of Tavistock won first-up over hurdles at Pakenham before he pulled up distressed in the Grand National Hurdles (4200m) at Sandown.
“He got the thumps, a heart murmur, but he soon got over it,” Campbell said. “He’s now with Eric Musgrove and he’ll try his luck over there.”
Back on the local scene Campbell has had just three starters and Peloton, a son of Charm Spirit, became his first winner for the new season as he took a possible step toward the Gr.1 Al Basti Equiworld New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton on November 9 with his fresh-up win over 1400m last week.
“We bought the mare (Epicurean) in foal to go to Tavistock and he’s the foal,” Campbell said. “He’s a big staying horse and I’ll put him over 1600m next start at Te Rapa on Friday.
“That’ll show whether he’s up to going down for the 2000 Guineas or he wants more ground already. If he wants to go further, I’ll put him aside and set him for the New Zealand Derby (Gr.1, 2400m) in March. That looks the main race for him.”
Campbell also has Pimlico nominated for the New Zealand 2000 Guineas and the son of Proisir has shaped well at the trials with three wins from five appearances, including a decisive win at the Cambridge trials last week.
“He’ll go to either Te Rapa or Waverley first-up and if he wins there he’ll probably go on for the Sarten Memorial (Gr.2, 1400m) at Te Rapa,” Campbell said. “He’d have to be competitive in that to go down to Riccarton, but at this stage he’s definitely in contention.”
Campbell did have Aqueduct, a son of Dundeel, also among the original entries for the 2000 Guineas.
“He’s had two trials and ran second last Monday, but he’s not as forward as the other two, Peloton and Pimlico,” Campbell said. “He could also go to either Te Rapa or Waverley.”
Campbell trialled seven horses at Cambridge last week, including four two-year-olds. Among them was a Darci Brahma – Astuto gelding who won his 800m heat by a length.
“The Darci Brahma came through it super and he might go down to my old stomping ground for a two-year-old race at Wairarapa,” Campbell said. “I’m trying to win the Karaka Million (Listed, 1200m). It’s a race I really want to win and I’ll probably be setting three of those that trialled last week for it.”
The other two Karaka Million hopefuls are a Smart Missile gelding and a Ferlax colt who clashed in another two-year-old 800m heat. The Smart Missile youngster finished closest when fourth.
“I really like them both,” Campbell said. “They’ll trial up again.
“The Star Witness colt is the other two-year-old I trialled, but he only went around for a bit of education. He will be gelded and go out for a spell.”