By Duane Ranger
Glenferrie Hood has no idea how old is, and sometimes his Birnam trainer, Wayne Graham, wonders if he’s actually 10, or a pacer half that age.
“All I know is that we are both veterans, still trying to give our best. He’s still got good legs and a strong will to race, so why retire him?” the 64-year-old horseman said.
Immediately after Glenferrie Hood’s 1.5m win in the feature Remembering Paka Star Open Pace at Albion Park on Saturday night, he was bucking and kicking his way back to the stabling enclosure like a colt.
“He’s a good old horse. He’s still got awesome speed and doesn’t like horses going past him. He’s certainly not done with yet. His form tapered off a little bit last campaign, and he’s come back stronger than ever.
“He warmed up real fit and well tonight. I thought he’d go all right. Wayne has done a terrific job to get him back to where he is. A great training effort,” said driver Peter McMullen.
Graham will tell you it was the horse that did all the work, when in fact it was his training abilities that enabled the son of Christian Cullen to win first-up after a 116-day (June 8) spell.
“He needed that break. He’d been up a very long time, but with old horses, it’s hard to get them back up and racing once they’ve been out. They can take a while to get fit again.
“He’s a great ole pony. He’s a bit like me – he just wants to keep on going,” laughed Graham.
This year’s Queensland Aged-Pacer-of-the-Year nominee notched up his 43rd career win and 23rd at Albion Park on Saturday night.
That’s an amazing achievement considering the New Zealand-bred gelding made his debut 131 starts ago with a win at Pinjarra on July 30, 2012.
On Saturday Glenferrie Hood was so keen at the start of the 1,660m mobile he was in front from gate six at the first bend. Thereafter, he led all the way easily holding out the favourite Watch Pulp Fiction, and Eleniark.
He stopped the clock in 1:58.1 (mile rate 1:54.5). His sectionals were 28, 31.9, 27.6, and 27.1.
Despite his age, Graham said he and Jossie James (16 wins & $167,616) were still the best horses in his 18-strong barn.
“I try not to think of his age when assessing him. He’s as honest as the day is long. Sure, he can play up a bit after his races, but in reality, he’s a real relaxed customer. You can often find him in his stall asleep before he races.
“He’s had a few trainers over the years and is a wise old fella. He’s a lovely animal, and I’m very proud of him,” said Graham, who has had Glenferrie Hood since December 2017.
“All credit must go to Peter. He drives him well and gets on good with the horse. They have had quite a long association with each other,” he added.
Glenferrie Hood is a former Albion Park Horse-of-the-Year, who recorded his best mile rate of 1:52 at ‘The Creek’ on April 27, 2017.
His career statistics now read 131 starts, 43 wins, and 30 placings. His bank balance currently sits at $494,003.
Graham said he would continue to line the ‘old boy’ up in Free-for-All races at Albion Park on Saturday nights until the horse told him that he had had enough.