Manny Gelagotis described it as a Christmas bonus when their Irish import Long Arm made a winning Australian debut.
The assistant trainer to his brother Peter, Gelagotis said they thought Long Arm would need further than the 1600 metres of the #Lovethehorse Trophy at Flemington.
“It was meant to be a warm up today but if that was a warm up then there’s a lot to be excited about,” Manny Gelagotis said.
“To come to Flemington first up in Australia on debut over a mile, for a horse that profiles like this, it is unbelievable.”
Gelagotis said they bought Long Arm as a potential spring Cups horse and they could now dream of that time of the year.
“We bought him as a Cups horse but we’re not sure which Cup that’s going to be but going on today, I think we should be excited about what the future holds,” he said.
Long Arm was having just his fourth start on Saturday and his first since he finished fourth in a stakes race at Limerick over 2515 metres in June.
Gelagotis pointed out that the highly-rated Lloyd Williams-owned stayer Pondus finished second in that race and Long Arm was unlucky.
Gelagotis said that Long Arm spent a month at their Caulfield stables when he arrived on September 1 and had since been trained at their Moe operation and had been bombproof from day one.
He gave credit for buying the horse to Phil Burns of Gaelic Bloodstock who selects their northern hemisphere purchases.
“He assured me that this horse was the real deal. He got on top of it before it got into the open market and a huge credit to my owners for supporting me on this acquisition,” Gelagotis said.
Gelagotis plans to try to build the horse’s rating over the summer and he will have another two or three runs this campaign.
“I said to the guys that he comes here as a 72-rater and he’s been racing at 100 plus level back home. If the form is true then he should go right through his grades,” Gelagotis said.
Jordan Childs picked up the winning mount on Friday when Craig Williams was ruled out as a precaution after riding in COVID-hit Sydney during the week.
Childs said Long Arm was suited by the fast speed and pronounced him an exciting horse with a big future.
Long Arm ($8.50) defeated Think ‘N’ Fly ($10) by three-quarters of a length with the same distance away to Skiddaw ($4 fav) in third.