After passing his first test over jumps, New Zealander Gobstopper will be given his chance in Australia.
A talented stayer on the flat, Gobstopper won a maiden hurdle last month with trainer Andrew Campbell now eyeing off the Brendan Drechsler Hurdle (3500m) at Pakenham on July 21 and the Grand National Hurdle (4200m) at Sandown on August 4.
“I knew he went all right and has the flat ability as well, winning the (2017) New Zealand Cup, but I was pretty pleased to see him win like that, it was pretty good in the end,” Campbell told NZ Racing Desk.
“It was scary, but good. I had my heart in my mouth the whole way and coming into the last (fence) it was even worse.
“I knew he had it in the bag but he bungled it. He stood up though, so that was the main thing.
“We learnt a lot off that. He hasn’t jumped off a really heavy track like that before. He usually jumps a bit better than that and hopefully there is plenty of improvement left in him.
“He’s flying out on Sunday. We are staying in Cranbourne in Melbourne.”
Campbell will travel across the Tasman with Gobstopper and they will be joined by jockey Emily Farr after she rides at Te Aroha on Sunday.
Farr will care for Gobstopper on their Australian campaign and Campbell said she and partner Shaun Phelan should take most of the credit for the gelding’s jumping success.
“Emily and Shaun have done all the schooling,” he said. “They have taught him to jump and have done all the work, I take no credit whatsoever, I am just the name on the paper really.”
While Gobstopper’s immediate plans lie with jumps racing, Campbell is eager to get him back competing on the flat and is eyeing another Australian target with his charge.
“He will have a maximum of two runs and then we will give him a break and probably try and get him to the Jericho Cup (4600m),” Campbell said.
“There’s a race (September 29) at Taranaki which would qualify him, so he will probably have one start prior to that and then if he won that we would go for the Jericho Cup in December.”