TRAINER Alyson Wright will attest to the fact that success with old, problematic horses is one of the most satisfying things in a trainers’ career. It takes patience, more than anything else, but the rewards are good.
Wright has brought the big-striding grey Penhaligon back from the brink of retirement in 2013 to a minor feature win at seven. He got his head in front under jockey Anthony Delpech after a game run in Sunday’s Summerhill Stud KwaZulu-Natal Breeders (R200,000) over 1900m at Greyville.
Penhaligon was considered a classic contender after a fluent Maiden win and although he didn’t quite shape in the Emperors Ready To Run Cup and the KZN Derby he always looked like an above average sort with a big handicap in him, especially after running River Crossing to half a length in the 2013 Lonsdale Cup.
But then fate struck as Penhaligon was found to have several chips in his fetlock joint, later another massive chip was discovered. He was box rested, first with Tracy Woolard and later at Rathmor Stud, before returning to the track, finally sound, in January 2015.
During his break Penhaligon changed ownership from John Jones to Mauritius-based Christian Lafraisiere and he’s been sparingly handled with only eight runs since.
Wright commented: “Penhaligon is a very special horse for us. He has the most beautiful action. I picked him as a two-year-old on the way he moved, I watched the Ready To Run Replays on TV and he impressed me most. Later I went to see him in his stable expecting a big, flashy grey but he was much smaller than I thought he’d be.
“Penhaligon’s merit rating is unlikely to go up more than a point or two after his win so potentially he has several more good runs in him. We were thinking of sending him to Zimbabwe but he is still competitive and he loves his work.”
Penhaligon, by Daylami from Victoria Bay, by Coastal, was raised at Koos and Lorraine de Klerk’s Yellowstar Stud and was originally bought for R65,000. He’s won 5 of 32 races and placd 15 times for R375,000 in stake earnings.