Disappointing when fading to finish seventh in a minor event first-up on December 13th, trainer Simon Miller has revealed latest stable acquisition Longma has worked well in the lead-up to Saturday’s B&T Watson Handicap (1200m) at Ascot Racecourse.
Securing two wins and a further three minor places from his 12 race career so far, Longma began his racing tenure under the care of leading east coast trainer Gai Waterhouse before transferring to the care of Miller at the conclusion of the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival this year.
Understandably displeased with the Sebring entire’s inability to capitalise on ideal running position in the Black Widow 3.y.o+ (1200m) last weekend, Miller told Racing Ahead he has been happy with the work produced by the four-year-old this week and is hoping the addition of blinkers will see a return to form.
“Got to question is intestinal fortitude this guy – he had his first run for me last Saturday,” Miller said.
“Behind the scenes he’s a good galloper, we brought him to the races, had him locked in the best position and then a couple came around him and he just wanted to suck out the back and didn’t want to take part in it.
“Pulled up sound so I’ve backed him up and put the shades on him; he’s never needed the shades because he’s worked so well behind the scenes but he’s just a bit of a thinker.
“Blinkers go on and we’ll ride him aggressive just to take the thinking out of the equation for him and if he does happen to turn up then he’ll be really hard to beat because he’s a really good galloper.”
Having placed previously in black type races, Longma’s potential as a stallion has led to connections so-far refusing to geld the four-year-old; something Miller said may be the only option leading into the future.
“He’s still a colt out of a really good family and they’re trying to keep him a colt,” Miller said.
“At the end of the day if he throws another one of those performances in her might have the ultimate gear change, he might be gelded.”
Running second in a minor over 1200m first-up this year on April 2nd, Longma placed sixth in the Listed South Pacific Classic (1400m) and continued to build in form and class on his way to a close second to Sir Moment in the Listed Daybreak Lover Stakes (1600m) most notably on June 7th.
Allocated barrier 9, Longma has been confirmed to be partnered by in-form jockey Chris Parnham and has been charged with carrying just 55kgs in the B&T Watson Handicap.