Frenchman Benjamin Aubron can now add a New Zealand training victory to his burgeoning racing CV.
The 28-year-old trainer has already tasted success in his homeland and Australia, and added New Zealand to the list when Xebec took out the Farmlands Handicap Trot (2700m) at Cambridge Raceway on Thursday.
The son of Orlando Vici began well from the 35m mark and under a patient drive from Zachary Butcher he was able to reel in his opposition and run away to a comfortable 3-1/2 length win over Leesa Castleton.
“It was great to win in another country,” Aubron said. “I have now won races in New Zealand, Australia, and France. It’s amazing.
“Zac drove him perfectly tonight.”
Xebec is the only horse Aubron trains, but he has given him plenty of highlights, beginning with his first training win in Australia at Maryborough in April last year.
He then went on to win the Gr.2 NSW Trotters Derby (2400m) and Gr.3 Vicbred Super Series 3YO Silver Trot (2240m) before finishing fourth in the Gr.1 Breeders Crown 3YO Trotting Colts & Geldings Final (2240m) and Gr.3 Greenlane Cup (2700m).
“He has been a very good horse to me,” Aubron said.
Aubron previously worked at Yabby Dam Farm in Victoria where farm principal Pat Driscoll gave him the incentive to enter the training ranks.
“When I was at Yabby Dam Farm, working for Pat Driscoll, one day they were talking about what they were going to do with Xebec and he said ‘maybe we can give him a chance with Ben’ and I said yes,” Aubron said.
“I took out my trainer’s license and started training him.”
While Aubron experienced the highs of training a Group winner, his time in Australia came to an end earlier this year after his working visa expired and he is now working for John and Joshua Dickie.
Xebec had four previous starts in New Zealand for Aubron and he said he leaned on his employer for some advice after Xebec’s disappointing first-up run at Cambridge late last month.
“I was speaking with John and we changed his shoes and we jogged him this morning. He went really well tonight.”
While Aubron has enjoyed his time in New Zealand, a unique opportunity with trotting maestro Chris Lang is luring him back across the Tasman.
“I am making plans to go back to Australia and work for Chris Lang in the next few months,” Aubron said.
“Firstly I will work for him and if everything works out between us we may enter into a training partnership in the next few years.
“It is a great opportunity. I am still learning, so it will be amazing.”
Such an opportunity is hard to pass up and Aubron said he has come a long way from a boy with no family involvement in racing.
“My Mum is a florist and my Dad has his own business building swimming pools back home,” he said.
“My sister was doing some showjumping and I went to the races with my Dad and I just fell in love with horse racing.
“After I finished school I started to work for some big stables back home. One day I said I wanted to go to Australia and now I am training horses. It’s been amazing, I am really happy with what I have done.”
While Aubron will head to Australia, he is making plans to leave his pride and joy back in New Zealand to continue his racing career.
“I am looking for someone to train Xebec in New Zealand,” he said. “I am possibly thinking of sending him south, but I am not sure yet.
“It depends how he pulls up and how the racing industry goes in New Zealand.”
Aubron has enjoyed his time in Australasia and he said he has learnt a lot and been given plenty of opportunities.
“With horses you learn every day,” he said. “The racing is so different from Europe, but it is really good and I have got more opportunities over here. I have met some amazing people.
“I just love it.” – Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk