Aero De Paris continued his purple patch of form at Rotorua on Saturday when winning the RG & CM Donaldson Memorial 1215.
The Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott-trained gelding has now won two of his four starts this preparation, and finished runner-up in his other two starts.
His trainers were pleased with the win and said he has matured a lot since his last preparation, allowing the Matamata conditioners to utilise the claim of apprentice jockey Joe Kamaruddin.
“It was his career best performance on Saturday,” Scott said.
“It was fortunate the leader got along at a good speed and gave him his opportunity to get home.
“One thing about him now is that he is racing really consistently and professionally, where his racing manners used to let him down a fair bit. That is the most encouraging thing about him.
“We are at a place in the handicap that we can put apprentices on with confidence. Craig (Grylls) has ridden him 80 percent of his career because he gets on with him the best and he is a strong senior rider who can handle him.
“Craig has done a wonderful job in getting his race manners right. Now we are in a position where we have to claim and the horse continues to race well with good manners.”
The son of Tavistock extended his strong record on heavy tracks to four wins and two placings from six starts with Saturday’s result.
“He goes well at Rotorua. He has had three starts there for three wins,” Scott said.
“The softer ground at this time of year is his forte. He can handle that ground and being an older horse, he has got that bit stronger.
“He is going to go back to Te Rapa in two weeks. There is an open 1200m for him and he races well there. Hopefully we will get a bit of rain.”
Purchased out of Cambria Park’s 2016 New Zealand Bloodstock Select Yearling Sale for NZD$200,000 by Wexford Stables for a Hong Kong client, Aero De Paris was originally destined for Asia.
However, when he didn’t reach the standards to head north, he was offered to Wexford Stables to disperse, and a syndicate was formed to continue to race the gelding.
“He was bought as a yearling by a Hong Kong client,” Scott said. “When we realised that he wasn’t suitable for Hong Kong they asked would anybody be interested in racing him, so we took that opportunity with him.
“There is a real mix of people in the ownership and they just love following him.
“My best man at my wedding, Regan Donnison (New Zealand Bloodstock sales representative), and his wife Victoria have a share in him, as do Regan’s parents, and my wife also has a share.
“He races in Regan’s grandparents’ colours. The Hopsons used to be a famous racing family and I think they had 100 winners trained by Dave O’Sullivan.
“The colours have been around a long time.
“He has been a consistent racehorse and they get a great deal of enjoyment from him.”