Sunday, 1 April 2018

Charlie Longsdon: Yet to Taste Festival Success

Charlie Longsdon began his training career at Cotswold Stud, Sezincote, near Moreton in Marsh, Gloucestershire in 2006. However, prior to setting up on his own, Longsdon worked for Oliver Sherwood, Nigel Twiston-Davies, Kim Bailey and Nicky Henderson. During his five years as assistant trainer to Nicky Henderson, he won the Alex Scott Memorial Fund Assistant Trainers’ Scholarship, which allowed him to work for Todd Pletcher in the United States for a few months in 2004, the year in which the Texan won his first Eclipse Award as Champion Trainer.

Early in his own training career, Longsdon said, “I'm very lucky and spoiled that I've got a very good CV. I've been with people at the top of their game. Anyone looking at that would know I should be able to train.” 

One of the early successes for the yard was the victory of Songe in the Blue Square Champion Hurdle Trial at Haydock in January, 2009, which Longsdon described as “a real thrill for all of us”. Other notable winners included Up To Something in DBS Spring Sales Bumper at Newbury in March, 2012 and Paintball in the Paddy Power Imperial Cup Handicap Hurdle at Sandown just a week later.

In the summer of 2015, Longsdon moved to a new, purpose-built yard at Hull Farm in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire. In 2015/16, he saddled 62 National Hunt winners and amassed £624,143 in prize money and, in 2016/17, when he was joined by former Champion Conditional Jockey Marcus Foley as assistant trainer, increased his prize money total to £723,415. All in all, Longsdon has trained over 500 winners, including 50 or more in the last six seasons running, and amassed over £3 million in prize money. He saddled his landmark 500th winner at Worcester in October, 2017, when Aunty Ann was pushed out by amateur rider Jordan Nailor to win the Richard Wright Memorial Handicap Chase.

Longsdon still has an affiliation with the United States and, in 2016 and 2017, was represented in the American Grand National. For the uninitiated, the Grand National Hurdle Stakes is, despite the name, a steeplechase run over 2 miles 5 furlongs at Far Hills, New Jersey. Longsdon saddled Far Rise to finish third in 2016 and Hammersly Lake to finish fifth in 2017, for the same owner, Robert Aplin.

After 50-odd runners at the Cheltenham Festival, Longsdon is still without a winner.

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