Theobald Family Name Races On

As a successful trainer at Bathurst for the past 25 years, Paul Theobald is looking forward to his hometown Cup meeting on Sunday, 25 September.

Although he won’t have a runner in the 1800 metres The Daffodil Cottage Bathurst Cup, an eligibility race for the $2 million Big Dance, or the feature sprint the $110,000 The Ray White Emms Mooney Panorama, Theobald is likely to have good representation from his stable in supporting events including last start winners Power Bank and Boorawa Girl.

Paul Theobald knows a bit about Bathurst, his forebears coming to the town (now city ) in 1850.

His father Mervyn Theobald who passed away in recent years at age 99 operated a Bathurst newsagency until he was 97.

Mervyn Theobald was a long time owner of harness racing horses with his pacers being trained by two of the best in the sport, Tony Turnbull and Ian Mutton, both from Bathurst.

Amongst his well known pacers was the good Harold Park performer Our Bill trained by Ian Mutton.

Paul Theobald who combines his trade as a builder with racehorse training has prepared a host of good gallopers from his stables near the Bathurst race course including tough sprinter Dragons Keep, the Central Districts Racing Association “Horse Of The Year” for the 2012/2013 season.

Usually with Ken Dunbar in the saddle, Dragons Keep had 11 wins and 24 placings from 74 starts and earned $192,685 prizemoney.

Dragons Keep won  a city class race at Wyong at $36.00 and ran second at Warwick Farm and although mainly competing at TAB meetings set a weight carrying record when winning the Bracelet Handicap at Bedgerabong Picnics.

Destined to be among the best trained by Theobald it was a frustrating run of placings to start the career of Dunderry.

Commencing racing In 2011, Dunderry at debut was unplaced in Sydney then had 6 seconds and 2 thirds at the next 8 starts.

After the initial 7 placings at mainly TAB meetings, Dunderry was taken to Bedgerabong Picnics and again ran second, as favourite, in a Maiden Handicap to the George Wright, Parkes trained Be My Honey.

The breakthrough win came in the 1000 metres Park View Hotel Maiden Handicap at Orange in 2012 when ridden by Clare Pettigrew who was the the rider again when Dunderry two starts later won again at Queanbeyan.

From then on with Ken Dunbar mainly the jockey, Dunderry built an imposing record of 14 wins and 32 placings from 124 starts with prizemoney totalling $207,190.

The resilient Dunderry raced until a rising twelve year old and career highlights included winning the Bill Aspros Cup at Bathurst.

Although a winner over 1200 metres at Bathurst and 1400 metres at Louth and the Marthaguy Picnics at Quambone , the Theobald trained Bathurstian was better known as a stayer.

Part owned by Paul’s father Mervyn Theobald, Bathurstian twice ran second over 3000 metres in The Barb on Bathurst Cup day and twice won the 2400 metres Iron Horse at Wellington, the second time after being sold to Narromine trainer Michael Plummer.

Overall, Bathurstian had 5 wins and 23 placings from 77 starts.

All Sixes was another good performer for the Theobald stable, winning the $30,000 Darley Tiara at Muswellbrook in 2015 and the Allandale Park Stud Cup at Orange and twice being placed in The Soldiers Saddle at Bathurst.

Interestingly, Paul Theobald trained two horses both named Red Marauder and both were the winners of numerous races.

“The first Red Marauder was a striking chestnut and when a similar looking horse came along 18 years later the name was again available”, Paul explained.

Of course, the Bathurst trained Red Marauder pair are not to be confused with Red Marauder winner of the 2001 Grand National at Aintree in England when in atrocious conditions and with a riderless horse causing chaos, only 4 of the 40 starters completed the course and 2 of those were remounted during the race.

Always prepared to travel to place his horses to advantage, Theobald had 4 winners on the day at Gosford Picnics and a treble at a Marthaguy Picnic meeting at Quambone.

For 22 years Dubbo based Ken Dunbar has been the first choice jockey for the stable while Alan Barton, now the curator at Bathurst Racecourse, had a long and successful association riding for Paul Theobald at the Picnic Races.

Other riders to enjoy success for the stable have included Winona Costin, Rebeka Prest, Roy McCabe Jnr. and Jake Barrett.

More of the Theobald family are now involved with racing, including Paul’s daughter Elizabeth Theobald, the partner of jockey Jake Pracey-Holmes, being a trackwork rider for Gulgong trainer Brett Thompson.

Another daughter Katherine Theobald is already a more than a competent trackwork rider and is planning to become apprenticed to her father as a jockey when she completes year 10 at High School this year.

Final acceptors for the Bathurst Cup meeting next Sunday will be declared at 9.00am on Thursday.

- Colin Hodges

Photo of All Sixes thoroughbred racing horse