Tavistock's boy Longchamp wins second Opunake Cup

22 Jul 2017

Under a desperate Johnathan Parkes ride, last year’s Listed Powerworx Opunake Cup winner Longchamp made it back-to-back titles with a gritty display at New Plymouth today.

Parkes became a victim of circumstances from a wide barrier draw as he sat three-wide on the pace throughout the 1400m contest before driving the Andrew Campbell-trained galloper to the front as the field rounded the home turn.

The pair quickly established a two-length break, which proved the decisive move as a host of challengers threatened to run the Tavistock gelding down in the concluding stages.

Eventual runner-up Nashville got the closest as he dived late to get within a neck of the winner with New York Minute and Taurus almost in a line with the first two in a desperate finish.

Campbell had been quietly confident about his chances when interviewed before the race with that confidence rewarded in emphatic fashion.

“He’d come up good and we thought he was spot on for the race, especially as he was carrying just the 56.5kg which was a great weight for him,” he said.

“He’s just so brave and although he’s had a hard run all the way he’s done the job. He’s got a heart the size of a lion. He’s had a lot of issues on the way through so we’re just so proud of him and I’m thrilled for all the people who have helped us along the way.

“It’s just an amazing result and we can carry on towards the Group One now.”

Campbell was referring to the Gr.1 Tarzino Trophy at Hastings on September 2, a race in which Longchamp finished a meritorious fourth behind Kawi last year.

Parkes was quick to admit that things hadn’t quite gone to plan despite his desire to have his charge somewhere near the speed in the early stages.

“We began well and I’d always planned to ride him up on the speed,” he said.

“The inside horses just kept kicking up but I still wanted to be there so we could pounce on the turn. We actually probably got to the front too easy in a way as he started to wait for them but in the end we got the job done.” – NZ Racing Desk