Josh Dickie’s first serious assault into harness racing ownership looks set to be successful one if his pride and joy Giuliana Rancic is anything to go by.
The 2-year-old filly, named after the courageous Italian/American television personality, looks to have the tenacious fighting qualities of her namesake.
Driven by Dickie, Giuliana Rancic led all the way to win last Thursday’s Dunstan Feeds Fillies and Mares Maiden at Cambridge Raceway.
She was a pronounced $1.40 favourite and never looked like losing the 2200m mobile cruising to victory in 2:45.7 (mile rate 2:01.2), with final 800m and 400m bursts of 58.1 and 28.5 seconds.
“I think she has a nice future but I’m not getting too carried away after just one start,’’ Dickie said, who co-trains the daughter of American Ideal with his father John at Clevedon.
“She’s an athletic type who has a great conformation.
“I liked her from day one because she was a big natural looking horse who had a good size about her.’’
Dickie paid Woodlands Stud $10,000 for the filly as a weanling at the All Age Sale.
He then tried to sell her at the annual Yearling Sale but received no bids.
“I’d never done this sort of thing before, so it was quite new - yet quite exciting.
“I thought she might have been okay when I saw Bunty Hughes was doing the under-bidding at the All Age Sale, that was an encouraging sign.
“Since then she has progressed really well, but when I bought her I had to convince my grandmother (Gwen Dickie) to free up the money to purchase her.
“My Nana looks after my finances and she was quite reluctant to fork out that much for a baby.
“I talked her into it and I think she’s now a bit happier after last week’s result,” Dickie said.
He said he named the big bay after Giuliana Rancic because both he and his girlfriend Angela admired the TV journalist.
“She had both of her breasts removed and then had to resort to an embryo transfer after not being able to give birth.
“She has fighting qualities that both Ange and I really admire.
“If my horse is half as gutsy as what Giuliana Rancic is then I’ll be a very happy owner,” the 23-year-old said.
Dickie said the filly’s dam line also lured him into buying Giuliana Rancic.
“I thought she was worth a crack because her mother (Finiamo) had good bloodlines via Party Baby and Bee Gee’s Dream.
“She was put together very well,” Dickie said.
He said he could give Giuliana Rancic perhaps one more run before spelling her for her 3-year-old season.
“I’m not too concerned about the Jewels.
“If she did qualify I don’t think I would line her up, I think she is a better long-term proposition.
“She’s ready just yet to line up against quality opposition after just one start, It could break her.
“Her long-term welfare means a lot to me.
“I’ll bring her back as an early 3-year-old and take it from there.’’
Giuliana Rancic easily won her debut start by five lengths after leading all the way from barrier two.
By Duane Ranger (Harness Racing New Zealand)