Gear change to boost Longport’s chance in flight stakes

A gear change a and slight change in her training program has boosted trainer John Thompson’s hopes for his filly Longport in the Group 1 $400,000 Flight Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on Saturday.

Thompson will replace the blinkers with the winkers on Longport for Saturday’s contest after the Casino Prince filly won on protest at her latest start in the Group 2 $175,000 Coolmore Tea Rose Stakes (1500m) at Randwick on September 22.

Christian Reith, returning from suspension, will back aboard Longport after Jim Cassidy was able to secure the win in the Stewards’ room after being beaten a nose by Norzita in a tight bumping finish.

Cassidy was able to convince the Stewards’ panel that his filly lost enough ground when bumped by Norzita over the concluding stages and Longport was award her first Group race.

Thompson felt that Longport would be better suited with the winkers, thinking that the filly was unable to see Norzita coming up alongside her with the blinkers but fought back when she realised the other filly was there.

“We just felt the other day that she couldn’t see that other horse coming, and when she did see it she kicked,” Thompson said.

“We’re going to go to the winkers so she can see something coming, because she really fights on when something challenges her.”

Thompson also thinks that Longport will be better suited with the two week gap in between runs and blames himself for her defeat two runs back after a three week break in between races.

After Longport’s defeat over 1400m at Rosehill on September 1, Thompson was forced to barrier trial Longport to fit her for the Tea Rose and the Patinack Farm trainer believes she is spot on now with a fortnight in between runs.

“Obviously she went well in her first two runs, then I stuffed up going into her third run,” Thompson said.

“I was too easy on her with a three-week break between races and she got fat.

“In the three-week break after that into the Tea Rose I trialled her in between, kept her right up to the mark, and she won.”

“This time it’s only two weeks between races which will suit her a lot better.”

The step up to 1600m of the Flight Stakes will be no worries for Longport according to Thompson who is also eyeing off the Group 1 $1m Crown Oaks (2500m) at Flemington on November 8.

“Everyone that’s ever ridden her – any jockey or trackwork rider – they come back in and say `she’s going to be a nice stayer’,” Thompson said.

The Flight Stakes will see Longport coming up against the same group of fillies she beat in the Tea Rose including placegetters Norzita and Jade Marauder as well and beaten favourite Dear Demi.

About The Author

Mark Mazzaglia

Mark is a passionate journalist with a life-time involvement in the racing industry. He spent many years as an analyst and form expert at the Courier Mail and also has hands-on experience working with some of Queensland’s top trainers.