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All this talk of doom and gloom for racing people


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Obviously these 2 don't think so

 

Grylls itching to get back in the saddle

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NZ Racing Desk
24 April 2020
Matamata jockey Craig Grylls is looking forward to returning to the saddle. Photo: Trish Dunell
 
Like many other Kiwis, Craig Grylls’ dogs have been a welcome distraction over the Covid-19 lockdown period, getting the Matamata jockey out and about in what has been a testing few weeks.
 
“It’s been very boring,” he said. “I haven’t been doing a lot, just watching a lot of YouTube and Netflix. I have got a couple of dogs, so we have gone on plenty of nice long walks every day.”
 
With racing set to resume in July, Grylls said the long layoff for many of the country’s jockeys will take its toll and it will be a trying time – physically, mentally, and financially. 
 
“It will be difficult for a lot of jockeys for different reasons,” he said.
 
“I am okay, but there will be a few that are going to get quite heavy, so it will be tough getting their weight back down. 
 
“Even if we can resume trackwork next week there is still not going to be any races until July. That’s still a long time without any income. 
 
“Even though you get the Government support package, at the same time it is probably not enough for people with mouths to feed.
 
“It is going to be a bit tough, but we are not the only ones in this situation, there are plenty of people around the country that are in the same boat.”
 
New Zealand is set to enter Covid-19 Alert Level 3 at 11:59pm on Monday and Valachi Downs’ retained rider said he is looking forward to returning to ride track work once it has been given the green light by the Government.
 
“Once we can start riding again I’ll head back to the track to ride work for Steve (Autridge, Valachi Downs trainer),” Grylls said.
 
“Normally once I have done all the track work at Valachi I go to the (Matamata) track and ride for other stables as well.”
 
Grylls has enjoyed having a bit of downtime, however, he said he probably didn’t need it after an enforced layoff earlier in the year.
 
“I do miss racing at the moment, but on the same hand it has been good having a break. Although three weeks before the lockdown happened I had just come back from having a month suspension anyway, so I probably didn’t need the break as such.”
 
Grylls secured the role as Valachi Downs’ retained jockey late last year and he said he has been enjoying his time in the Gold silks of owners Kevin and Jo Hickman.
 
“Kevin approached me down at Riccarton during New Zealand Cup week and asked me if I would like to do it. I thought about it for a little bit and decided to take the job,” Grylls said.
 
“It has been good. Kevin and Jo are great people to deal with and work for as too is Gareth Downey (General Manager), Steve, and the whole team.”
 
Grylls returned to New Zealand last year after a riding stint in Singapore and he said he is pleased to be back in New Zealand, particularly after the Asian nation extended their lockdown during the pandemic.
 
“I really loved riding up in Singapore, but probably just the lifestyle of being cooped up in an apartment with not much to do got a bit old,” he said.
 
“Growing up on a farm, the city life is not really my sort of thing. 
 
“The Government over there has extended it (lockdown) for another month, so they have got two months of lockdown.
 
“We only had a small apartment over there so I couldn’t imagine being locked down in that for two months.”
 
While Grylls is looking forward to getting back in the saddle, he is also looking forward to returning to his other passion, flying.
 
“I have been doing my PPL (private pilot license) and I am not too far off finishing it. I would have had it by now if the lockdown didn’t happen. I am looking forward to finishing it off. I have done all the theory exams and all that side of it, I have just got to do my medical and sit my flight test.
 
“About a year ago I bought an old Cessna so I have just been doing it in my own plane and hiring an instructor.”
 
Grylls is looking toward life post-riding and has eyed a career in the sky.
 
“If I wasn’t going to be a jockey I reckon that’s the path (pilot) I would have taken,” he said. “I want to do my commercial licence eventually because you can’t ride forever. It’s good to have a back-up.” 

Re-charged Campbell ready for fresh start

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NZ Racing Desk
24 April 2020
Cambridge trainer Andrew Campbell. Photo: Race Images Palmerston North
 
Rejuvenation is the name of the game for Cambridge trainer Andrew Campbell. 
 
The Group One-winning trainer has relished the five-week break enforced in New Zealand, care of the Covid-19 lockdown, and is raring to get back to training as soon as the Government gives the green light.
 
“It’s been great,” Campbell said. “I’ve loved it actually. On our property we’ve got plenty of things to do and it is probably the first decent break I have had in 28 years.
 
“Even when you go away for a holiday it is normally only 10 days and hard to switch off and you need a holiday when you go back it is that full on. 
 
“I’ve got a lot of work done that you don’t normally get time to do and I am keen to get back into it now.”
 
Campbell relocated to Cambridge in 2017 after 23 years training at Opaki in the Central Districts. 
 
“We’ve only got seven acres but I’ve been fixing things and tidying it all up,” he said. “We will have eight to come back in to work once we get the go ahead.”
 
Campbell is keen to stick to his knitting, which is training two and three-year-olds and trading horses offshore.
 
The boutique stable has recorded 11 wins this season from 53 starters, with long-time friend and owner Tommy Heptinstall the backbone of the operation. 
 
Among those winners have been three-year-olds Peloton, Pimlico, Vladivostok and Aqueduct, while Tibetan remains a maiden but is multiple stakes-placed. 
 
Three-time winner Pimlico has been sold to Hong Kong, while a number of Campbell’s three-year-olds will relocate to South Australia to continue their careers as older horses.
 
“Tibetan, Aqueduct and Peleton are going to Michael Hickmott’s in Adelaide once the airfreight is back up and running,” Campbell said. “Our focus is on two and three-year-olds.
 
“Michael has been a good friend for a long time. We stayed with him when we took Werther to Adelaide for the South Australian Derby (Gr.1, 2500m). They’re running for $40,000 to $60,000 every Saturday and if they’re up to it, it is only a float trip to Melbourne.” 
 
Campbell had three runners in the Gr.1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) last month — Tibetan, Vladivostok and Peloton — and all endured torrid runs and finished in the back half of the field. 
 
“It was just a disaster,” Campbell said. “Tibetan sat three-deep throughout but he came through it well and ran second at Avondale when carrying topweight against the older horses in late March. 
 
“We were going to take him to Sydney, but that wasn’t possible once the flights stopped and the full-effect of the virus kicked in. 
 
“He went straight out after that race at Avondale when he couldn’t get over. 
 
“I think Tibetan and Aqueduct might be the best of them. Aqueduct was always going to be an autumn three-year-old. He was working up really well before the lockdown. He was just starting to get a bit of ringcraft about him.
 
“The break won’t have done him any harm.”
 
While the trio of late-season three-year-olds are on the move, Campbell is pleased with his next crop of youngsters.  
 
“I’ve got a couple of nice two-year-olds, including Preakness who won on debut at Otaki. He was never a two-year-old, he just did it on ability.”
 
During lockdown, Campbell has also had an eye across the Tasman on his former Gr.3 New Zealand Cup (3200m) winner turned hurdler Gobstopper, who finished third at Pakenham last week for Eric Musgrove. 
 
“I have a share in him and I follow him,” Campbell said. “It’s a bit of fun actually. He goes to Warrnambool in two weeks’ time for the Galleywood Hurdle (3200m).
 
“We did well leaving him in Aussie, with the restricted program of jumps racing here, it worked out in our favour. He is paying his way.”
 
Meanwhile, the death of proven Group One stallion Tavistock last year, a horse Campbell prepared to win at Group One level on two occasions, is likely to impact the future flow of stock to his yard. 
 
“We were never really breeders but when we formed our syndicate who raced Tavistock we bought four shares in him as a stallion and were basically thrust into breeding,” Campbell said.
 
“We had a hell of a lot of luck with it, like breeding Werther, and ending up with Bagalollies, who is the dam of Werther, Gobstopper, Milseain and Toffee Tongue, who ran second in the Australian Oaks (Gr.1, 2400m) the other day. 
 
“But we’re getting out of the breeding game now that Tavistock has died. 
 
“It is a bit different when you have to pay service fees and breeding is not our forte. We want to focus on racing horses and trade. 
 
“We had up to six broodmares at one stage but we enjoy going to the sales and buying what we want instead of what you get. You have no choice when you breed.
 
“In saying all that, we bred a couple of beauties. 
 
“I’ve got to be honest, I wouldn’t have bought Werther as a yearling as he wasn’t a great type. 
 
“His racing name was sardine and he was an embarrassment to take anywhere because he was so weak and light, but God he had a heart. It is just one of those things you just can’t see in a horse.” 
 
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