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where the horse is always the hero
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Posted 2019-12-13 17:28:22  
Ladies in Racing-Luella Robinson

SA Horseracing recently took time out to find out more about the successful Luella Robinson as part of a series on prominent women in the horse racing industry.

How did you hear about the sport of horseracing and when can you first remember wanting to become a involved in the game?

I heard and felt it from my Mother’s womb, as she even rode in an amateur’s race in Richmond with me on board😂 I was born into it and I wouldn’t change my career for anything!

What are the advantages of growing up in a family that’s involved in horse racing?

Before I could read or write, I knew every single horse and which groom looked after which horse in a yard of 75! My Dad, Doug Campbell has definitely been my role model and he made me passionate about racing from the word dot. My Mother, Di Campbell is the lady who taught me ALL my horsemanship knowledge and I’m forever grateful as I feel that a successful racing yard needs that woman’s touch for attention to detail. There are so many advantages that I could go on forever about! Riding work before school at the age of 10 and the list goes on........I have to admit that I would’ve bunked school if it weren’t for my mother!

Under whom did you learn the trade?

Without a doubt my loving parents. I rode in my first ever Ladies race at the age of 13 as I was told I was too young at 12..............I was already hooked and inbred to racing!

What are the qualities or attributes that stable needs to have in order to be successful in this game?

I think team work and communication is key. I am fortunate enough to be totally fluent in Zulu and this is something that growing up on a farm has blessed me with, and if your staff/team are happy, you will have happy horses and the success follows. We have an amazing team and we are one big happy family. Being honest to clients and constant communication is also key.

How many horses are you and Mike looking after at the moment?

We have 40 horses at the moment and we were recently blessed with 6 new babies from the Ready To Run Sales at Durbanville, and we have incredible loyal clients whom we couldn’t survive without.

What are some of the best horses you have helped to train or currently train?

I rode a lot of top horses for my Dad. The best horses I’ve worked with recently are Goodtime Gal, Blarney Bay, Orakal and Tippuana Moon to name a few off the top of my head. I don’t like picking the best one’s as they are ALL my children and each one is special to me.

Your current highest rated horse?

Orakal is a 93.

Plans for him/her?

He is such a talented son of Oratorio and he is a 1400m specialist and a difficult distance to plan ahead with him as there are very few races for him. He is running this Saturday so holding thumbs.

What was your most memorable day in racing?

There have been several memorable days, but one that comes to mind is when Blarney Bay beat Captain America in a blanket finish. Each winner we train is as memorable as the previous one as there is truly no feeling like it.

What race do you and Mike aspire to win, both locally and nationally?

Any Group 1 is any trainer’s dream.

Where is your favourite racetrack?

I love Kenilworth but the vibe at Durbanville is fantastic.

Tell us about the differences the tracks at Durbanville and Kenilworth offer?

Durbanville is a country course so you have the vibe, but if you don’t have the draw then it is an extremely difficult track to overcome a bad draw. Kenilworth offers a shorter Winter straight and a longer Summer straight and a very fair course.

Being the holiday season and you were asking Santa for a gift, would you ask for a poly surface in Cape Town especially for the winter months?

I actually wouldn’t! In the States they are ripping up their poly surfaces and reverting back to dirt/sand as too many horses were breaking down, so I would wish for a dirt track.

Have you ever felt prejudiced against in racing as a result of being a woman?

It is a tough game and not for the faint hearted, but my fluency in Zulu has definitely helped me gain respect from our staff and I’ve never felt prejudiced among the boys in racing.

Do you have a favourite sire at the moment?

I love Oratorio.

Has any young sires impressed you?

I think Potala Palace is exciting.

What would you like to see changed in racing?

Stakes increased, giving a limit to the number of horses in training with the big yards would have a huge impact for us smaller yards. Getting the new generation back to the races and offering better incentives to owners as we wouldn’t survive in this industry without them.

What advice would give a someone keen in getting involved in racing, either as a trainer or as an owner, especially females?

I know several passionate woman owners and if you have the passion and the love for the Sport Of Kings, and treat it as a sport and not as an instant money making scheme, then luck will be on your side.

Give us your Racing Wishes for Christmas, in point form?

1. Larger Stakes and incentives.

2. Upgrade Phillipi Training Centre with its security and general facilities.

3. Marketing needs to be put correctly into action to attract the good old days at races.

4. Limit the number of horses in each Training Yard like they do in Hong Kong so it creates fairness for all yards. 

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