Australian Hurdle triumph for Gobstopper
Gobstopper has given his Kiwi owners plenty of excitement over the COVID-19 enforced lockdown period, and he continued that on Sunday when taking out the Australian Hurdle (3900m) at Sandown.
“I thought he was really professional this time, he didn’t over-race he got a nice trail and was ridden amazingly,” part-owner and former trainer Andrew Campbell said.
“He has got some good form around him at the moment.”
Gobstopper has won three of his last four hurdle assignments, including a last-start win in the Galleywood Hurdle (3200m), and Campbell said it has given his Kiwi connections plenty to look forward to over the last couple of months.
“We got a bit of criticism for leaving him over there when we did, but in hindsight it was probably the best thing we did,” Campbell said.
“It has been our highlight over lockdown, it has been a hell of a thrill.
“It’s not just us, but everyone is getting a buzz out of it. Probably because he is a Kiwi horse and he is well known up here (Cambridge).”
Gobstopper won the Gr.3 New Zealand Cup (3200m) prior to his jumping career, and Campbell said the change in discipline has done wonders for the seven-year-old gelding.
“We did all the educating here and he turned his form around.
“I remember he just got beaten in a Rotorua Cup (Gr.3, 2200m). We had been schooling him up and it brought him a new lease on life.”
With Gobstopper thriving over hurdles, Campbell hasn’t dismissed the possibility of trying other horses over hurdles if they show ability.
“It’s (jumps racing) definitely worthwhile,” he said. “If you have got a half decent flat performer and they run out of zest, if they can jump there is certainly a future for them.”
Gobstopper is a favourite of Campbell’s and he said he is looking forward to the son of Tavistock furthering his jumping career in Australia under the care of trainer Eric Musgrove.
“He has been a great horse to us, he has given us some great thrills and a lot of heartbreaks,” Campbell said.
“Eric is unsure at this stage (what his next target will be), but there are plenty of races coming up.”
Back in Cambridge, Campbell has been pleased with the progress of his eight-strong team.
“We are just ticking away,” he said. “We have got eight in work and they are all having their first run along on Saturday.
“We have got a nice bunch of rising three-year-olds. It’s a nice team around us and I am very happy with them.”