Harness - News

Family man Aubrey back with a decent horse

  • Fri, 06 Apr 2018
  • Frank Marrion
Officialdon and Dexter Dunn. Photo: The Digital Birdcage

Officialdon and Dexter Dunn. Photo: The Digital Birdcage

It’s been a while since Dunsandel trainer Richard Aubrey had a good horse but Officialdon has been shaping like one and he resumes at the Rangiora meeting on Sunday.

The three-year-old son of Art Official won back-to-back races at Motukarara and Orari a couple of months ago while still looking rather green, and Aubrey says he’s been “treading water” while playing the waiting game with the gelding.

“He’s a big, gangly bugger which we think will develop into a pretty nice horse in the spring, but we need to be patient while he matures,” said Aubrey.

“He had two hard runs in a week when he won, so he had two weeks off and he seems to have strengthened up quite a bit and he felt good in his trial during the week (second to Dibaba at Motukarara on Wednesday).”

Officialdon hasn’t had a decent draw in his four races to date and was trapped wide before working to the front in both of his wins.

He was gawking around and looking likely to be run down at the Geraldine meeting, but lifted when challenged to hold on in a tight finish.

He has drawn badly again on Sunday in barrier eight for a 2000m mobile, but will run one of the favourites with Dexter Dunn again at the helm.

“The only time he has drawn well was for his first race at Ashburton at Christmas time and then they redrew the field and he wound up with 15.

“After he won for the second time he was in to go again, but he drew nine so we decided bugger it, we’ll scratch and spell him.

“So, he hasn’t had too many favours at all, but he’s improved with each run and I’m sure that’ll keep happening.”

Officialdon was actually Aubrey’s first winner in over seven years, when he won eight races with Alchemy and two with the unbeaten Vladimir The Great while in partnership with wife Julia and before their sale to Australia.

They were not long after a couple of good sorts in Apatchee (5 wins) and Rameses (7 wins) before they were also sold.

“We’ve had some children to raise so we haven’t been doing many and we won’t be doing many ever again.

“We’ve just had some slow ones, although we’ve sold a few good ones before they raced.”

Aubrey horseman mainly makes a living these days from shoeing for stables and trimming the feet of weanlings and broodmares at Wai Eyre.

he only came by Officialdon due to Dave Anderson handing in his trainer’s license and taking up a position on the Judicial Control Authority (JCA).

Anderson bred Officialdon and he was in his name and that of co-breeder Kevin Brookfield when he qualified as a two-year-old in April last year.

He has since been leased to a syndicate of ladies including Julia Aubrey, Bonnie Williams and Anderson’s wife Sue.

Anderson’s position on the JCA means he can’t race horses nor can he officiate on Sunday due to any perceived conflicts of interest.

Officialdon is certainly bred to go a long way, being the seventh foal and fifth winner from For The Don, a Christian Cullen mare from the imported For The Boys, who was from the immediate family of millionaires Dr No, Stienam and Stienams Place among others.

The first three foals from For The Boys were fine performers in Oscar Wild, For The Girls and Sempre Veloce and her only unqualified foal was For The Don, who has produced For The Ladies (9 NZ wins, US1.51.6), Four Needed (Aus1.52.9, $121,000) and the speedy Vinny Gambini, also a winner twice this season.