Teacher successfully turns talents to training

Winton teacher Jamie Campbell holds  Mickey Fitz at the Cromwell track 
...
Winton teacher Jamie Campbell holds Mickey Fitz at the Cromwell track yesterday after notching his first win as a trainer. PHOTO: MONICA TORETTO
Winton school teacher Jamie Campbell’s pre-race lessons helped Mickey Fitz go to the top of his class at Cromwell yesterday.

Already a race-winning junior driver, Campbell added successful trainer to his resume when his 5yr-old cleared out by nearly four lengths to win race 2.

Campbell juggles teaching agriculture and physical education at Central Southland College with training standardbreds.

It might be the school holidays, but Campbell has been far from holiday mode.

The trainer is an integral part of the crash crew that helps start races and ensure the safety of horses and drivers at harness meetings across Southland and Otago.

But Campbell was able to take a short break from his duties to cheer home his first win as a trainer yesterday.

"I didn’t go on the crash crew for that race.

"I stood on the hill with my old man and I got pretty excited, as you could imagine."

After the win Campbell was straight back out on the track helping to get runners organised for the next race.

During the school term, Campbell juggles all three of his duties as a teacher, trainer and crash crew assistant.

"I do my horses in the morning and the afternoons, I have four in work, which is probably a wee bit many," Campbell said.

"Then I am away teaching and it just keeps me busy enough, really."

"It is good to get out there and do the crash crew.

"You get a little bit bored at the races, I suppose, when you only have a one or two drives."

"It is a little bit harder now that I am training, but I still try to help out where I can."

Mikey Fitz has thrived since Campbell has had him stationed at Cromwell during the Otago summer racing circuit.

"He has always shown he has had the ability to win one."

"I thought the grass would suit him.

"They chucked me on the ballot at Gore, so I thought I would take him up to Cromwell.

"He got a little bit of form at Winton [when fifth] the other day and that just topped him off and he has obviously thrived up here," he said.

Campbell races Mikey Fitz with good friend Joe Popham.

Mickey Fitz was driven by Blair Orange, who also drove Plutonium Lady to win the Cromwell Cup for Burnham trainer Mark Jones.

The 4yr-old relished stepping up to a staying trip for the first time since the Southland Oaks in October to produce a strong win in the 2600m feature.

Plutonium Lady sat parked for the last 1200m of the race before digging deep to hold out the favourite, Vintage Cheddar, by half a length.

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