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The Rock-itt : May 2012
When George Johnson and Ozbred jumped a comfortable 8 fault round in the World Cup class at the 2012 Sydney Royal there were many reasons to celebrate. The 14-year-old Thoroughbred has only one eye since a paddock accident six years ago. Ozbred was accepted into Part 1 in 2011 on performances, but was then notified that he couldn’t compete because he only had one eye. Thanks to some intervention by sympathetic committee members and vets, the RAS over ruled their 2011 decision and Ozbred was able to compete this year. “We were disappointed then, but he is more experienced now and I felt he deserved his chance this year”, George explained. George acquired Ozbred as a retired racehorse from friends Wade & Doreen Slinkard at Hawkesbury. “Ozbred was a solid racehorse without being a champion,” Wade recalls. “He won a few races in town over middle distances, but we had to retire him when he bled”. A track-work rider remembers Ozy as a hard puller who sometimes whipped around and came home without his jockey, so it was with some mixed feelings that George started on his training. “He always had a very powerful jump andasayoungD grader people were getting very excited about him. I had some big offers for him but before I had a chance to worry too much about whether I should accept them his “eye” happened,” George remembers. “It just started clouding up one day and every inter vention from specialists couldn’t save it. His breeder, Chris Lawlor, told us he had had a cataract removed from that same eye as a weanling, but whether there was any link is inconclusive. There was certainly never any evidence that the eye was different up until that stage.” “When he had the eye removed I thought his career was over and maybe he would be a school-horse or just a pleasure ride, but Colleen Brook, George Sanna and Vicki Roycroft all encouraged me to give him a chance, explaining that there had been may good horses over the years with one eye or only sight vision in one eye, so we gave him the chance”, said George.