Charlie Longsdon, Cotswold Horse Trainer

PUBLISHED: 11:01 21 January 2010 | UPDATED: 14:55 15 June 2015

Charlie Longsdon

Charlie Longsdon

Martin Riley meets the Cotswold trainer with his eyes firmly on Cheltenham success

As every tap room and tack room resonates with the Paul Nicholls-fuelled Gold Cup fever - the great debate: Denman or Kauto Star - young Cotswold trainer Charlie Longsdon will be quietly setting his own sights on success at what is unarguably the best National Hunt meeting of the year.


 


It's every trainer's dream to win at Cheltenham and in every race one dream will come true. Charlie Longsdon Racing, based at Cotswold Stud, Sezincote, near Moreton in Marsh, only in his third season, has high hopes for Songe in the County Hurdle at the Festival at Prestbury Park in March,


 


"Songe's success at the Champion Hurdle at Haydock Park in January was our biggest winner to date, £25,000 prize money and a Grade Two winner - it was a real thrill for us all. This season has been much more difficult than our first two" said 33-year-old Charlie. "Miserable weather in the summer, a wet, frozen or snow-bound winter and a yard with many young, inexperienced horses, so Songe's success at Haydock was just what we needed. So the Festival is full of promise."


 


There is a spine-tingling excitement walking into a racing yard, a curious combination of tension, expectation and surreal calm. Winning racehorses relaxing in their boxes, young horses on the gallops and energetic staff going about their business.


 


The Longsdon yard is no exception and the small, mildly chaotic office, alive with terriers, lurchers, ringing telephones and the bustle of grooms and jockeys, is mission control. The old adage that behind every successful man is a woman certainly rings true here - assistant Sarah 'Ripper' Rippon and Dolly Maude (light-heartedly referred to as 'office help') certainly do a great deal more than merely assist and help. They chivvy and chide and encourage and entertain as the demanding days unfold.


 


The atmosphere may appear light-hearted, relaxed and self-deprecating but there is a steely determination in all that this team of eight does, a trait clearly demonstrated by Longsdon's career to date. Born into a hunting/racing family and brought up in a small village near Cirencester, he learnt his early equestrian skills with the VWH Hunt Pony Club. He moved into the world of Eventing and competed at two* level. The ambition to train racehorses was burnished by work experience with Oliver Sherwood and Nigel Twiston-Davies and then with Kim Bailey as assistant at his then-Lambourn yard.


 


In 2001 he joined Nicky Henderson at Seven Barrows and in 2004 won the Alex Scott Memorial Fund Assistant Trainer's Scholarship which allowed him to work alongside Champion Flat Trainer Todd Pletcher in the United States and be involved with Breeder's Cup winners Ashado and Speightstown.


 


At Seven Barrows he was involved with many Grade One and Cheltenham Festival winners such as Bacchanal and Marlborough, Trabolgan and Fondmort.


 


So, Charlie Longsdon Racing didn't just happen. The overtly glamorous world of racing has a foundation of sheer hard work: early starts and long days; hours on the road, the frustrations of the weather and the fickle nature of the horses themselves. This is not an industry for the faint-hearted. Longsdon's strapping frame reflects his gritty attitude and he is not one to stand on the sidelines.


 


There are 35 horses in training at Hornbeam Yard, Cotswold Stud, this season and a major change is afoot. A new yard is being built at Hull Farm, Chipping Norton, almost within sight of the Dunthrop Point to Point course. The move is due to take place in May/June this year when most of the horses will be turned out for a welcome rest, sweet grass and the hope of some sun on their backs.


 


Christopher Marriott who, with his wife Fran, own and run Hull Farm are developing the new yard.


 


"We are building 40 boxes with room to expand, a four-and-a-half furlong all weather gallop, a grass schooling ground , a horse-walker and an outdoor school. We are looking forward to Charlie's arrival in the summer," said Mr Marriot.


 


"I have known him a long time, I was in the 17th/21st Lancers with his father and have followed his career with great interest."


 


Mr Marriott knows more than most about horses and racing, he and his wife breed racehorses, he was a Point to Point jockey - "I stopped racing when I stopped bouncing" - and he is South Midlands Area Representative for the Point to Point Owners and Riders' Association, so Charlie will have a knowledgeable and enthusiastic landlord on his doorstep.


 


"It is a real privilege to be involved with the building of the new yard and we also have a new sponsor in the wings," said Charlie. "So we are full of optimism, but at the moment we are concentrating on this season and our Cheltenham entries include Iwillrememberyou, Blues in Cee and Orphelin Collanges. We have a lot to do to make up for the troubles put upon us by the weather this season but with the experience of Head Lad, Alan Roche (15 years as Head Lad to Jonjo O'Neill) jockey Tom Siddall and the rest of the team none of the questions will go unanswered."


 


The yard's web-site is informative and Charlie's Stable News gives an insight into the yard's activities, the form of the horses and when and where and almost how they will be running, and it also tells you how you can buy into one of their syndicates. So you too could soon be in the Winners' Enclosure at Cheltenham - and if all goes to plan for owner Mr Alan Halsall's hurdler 'the future's bright, the future's Songe.'



As every tap room and tack room resonates with the Paul Nicholls-fuelled Gold Cup fever - the great debate: Denman or Kauto Star - young Cotswold trainer Charlie Longsdon will be quietly setting his own sights on success at what is unarguably the best National Hunt meeting of the year.


 


It's every trainer's dream to win at Cheltenham and in every race one dream will come true. Charlie Longsdon Racing, based at Cotswold Stud, Sezincote, near Moreton in Marsh, only in his third season, has high hopes for Songe in the County Hurdle at the Festival at Prestbury Park in March,


 


"Songe's success at the Champion Hurdle at Haydock Park in January was our biggest winner to date, £25,000 prize money and a Grade Two winner - it was a real thrill for us all. This season has been much more difficult than our first two" said 33-year-old Charlie. "Miserable weather in the summer, a wet, frozen or snow-bound winter and a yard with many young, inexperienced horses, so Songe's success at Haydock was just what we needed. So the Festival is full of promise."


 


There is a spine-tingling excitement walking into a racing yard, a curious combination of tension, expectation and surreal calm. Winning racehorses relaxing in their boxes, young horses on the gallops and energetic staff going about their business.


 


The Longsdon yard is no exception and the small, mildly chaotic office, alive with terriers, lurchers, ringing telephones and the bustle of grooms and jockeys, is mission control. The old adage that behind every successful man is a woman certainly rings true here - assistant Sarah 'Ripper' Rippon and Dolly Maude (light-heartedly referred to as 'office help') certainly do a great deal more than merely assist and help. They chivvy and chide and encourage and entertain as the demanding days unfold.


 


The atmosphere may appear light-hearted, relaxed and self-deprecating but there is a steely determination in all that this team of eight does, a trait clearly demonstrated by Longsdon's career to date. Born into a hunting/racing family and brought up in a small village near Cirencester, he learnt his early equestrian skills with the VWH Hunt Pony Club. He moved into the world of Eventing and competed at two* level. The ambition to train racehorses was burnished by work experience with Oliver Sherwood and Nigel Twiston-Davies and then with Kim Bailey as assistant at his then-Lambourn yard.


 


In 2001 he joined Nicky Henderson at Seven Barrows and in 2004 won the Alex Scott Memorial Fund Assistant Trainer's Scholarship which allowed him to work alongside Champion Flat Trainer Todd Pletcher in the United States and be involved with Breeder's Cup winners Ashado and Speightstown.


 


At Seven Barrows he was involved with many Grade One and Cheltenham Festival winners such as Bacchanal and Marlborough, Trabolgan and Fondmort.


 


So, Charlie Longsdon Racing didn't just happen. The overtly glamorous world of racing has a foundation of sheer hard work: early starts and long days; hours on the road, the frustrations of the weather and the fickle nature of the horses themselves. This is not an industry for the faint-hearted. Longsdon's strapping frame reflects his gritty attitude and he is not one to stand on the sidelines.


 


There are 35 horses in training at Hornbeam Yard, Cotswold Stud, this season and a major change is afoot. A new yard is being built at Hull Farm, Chipping Norton, almost within sight of the Dunthrop Point to Point course. The move is due to take place in May/June this year when most of the horses will be turned out for a welcome rest, sweet grass and the hope of some sun on their backs.


 


Christopher Marriott who, with his wife Fran, own and run Hull Farm are developing the new yard.


 


"We are building 40 boxes with room to expand, a four-and-a-half furlong all weather gallop, a grass schooling ground , a horse-walker and an outdoor school. We are looking forward to Charlie's arrival in the summer," said Mr Marriot.


 


"I have known him a long time, I was in the 17th/21st Lancers with his father and have followed his career with great interest."


 


Mr Marriott knows more than most about horses and racing, he and his wife breed racehorses, he was a Point to Point jockey - "I stopped racing when I stopped bouncing" - and he is South Midlands Area Representative for the Point to Point Owners and Riders' Association, so Charlie will have a knowledgeable and enthusiastic landlord on his doorstep.


 


"It is a real privilege to be involved with the building of the new yard and we also have a new sponsor in the wings," said Charlie. "So we are full of optimism, but at the moment we are concentrating on this season and our Cheltenham entries include Iwillrememberyou, Blues in Cee and Orphelin Collanges. We have a lot to do to make up for the troubles put upon us by the weather this season but with the experience of Head Lad, Alan Roche (15 years as Head Lad to Jonjo O'Neill) jockey Tom Siddall and the rest of the team none of the questions will go unanswered."


 


The yard's web-site is informative and Charlie's Stable News gives an insight into the yard's activities, the form of the horses and when and where and almost how they will be running, and it also tells you how you can buy into one of their syndicates. So you too could soon be in the Winners' Enclosure at Cheltenham - and if all goes to plan for owner Mr Alan Halsall's hurdler 'the future's bright, the future's Songe.'


 


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