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"Snowy" is his nickname and he has been riding winners for nearly thirty years. Graham Wright is his name and there would not be many that would not have heard of him, regardless if you are into racing or not. His first win was on a horse name "Lord Dundonald", and says "Whitcombe Jack" was the best he had ridden, and names Omakau as his favourite track.
His popularity with the Southland racing followers was fully appreciated by a large crowd at the presentation ceremony after "Ellery Jane's" win in the Southland Guineas at Invercargill. This showed the high regard he is held in and it was the late Mr Tony Prendeville of Nightcaps that first introduced Graham to the galloping scene.
Mr Prendeville was friendly with the late Tony Polloch, a well known Gore trainer and it was his suggestion that Graham, a natural light-weight should take up an apprenticeship with him.
Graham was a stage in his life that he did not know what he wanted to do and although he had not done much riding he decided he had nothing to lose and the rest is history.
Graham Wright had no difficulty in memories of his first winner and he remembered it took 18 rides to get there. His very first ride was on "Salibon" which ran fourth at Gore.
Being an apprentice jockey makes it hard to get the rides, but he says that his boss was always on the lookout for them and he was never short of a ride. In those days it took four years to completed an apprenticeship and once that was over he went as a freelancer. He never looked back but admits there is lean times and of course the ability to get injuries but he never went a season without getting his share of winners.
Although many punters would not recall "Whitcombe Jack", Wright remembers him particularly well and said he was a true all rounder in that he could sprint and stay. He won four of his first six starts from the Pollock stables had fond memories of two particular rides.
The first one was his debut in a five furlong maiden at Wyndham which he won by 10 lengths. Wright recalls that he was easing him down with still 1/2 furlong to go.
The second was at the 1952 Easter meeting at Riverton where he won the Fiord Handicap over a mile. It was the only time he could remember riding a horse over a mile who was still fighting for his head, three furlongs from home. Wright also rated "Bellarook" along with "Ellery Jane" who he thinks could go a long way after his win in the Southland Guineas.
With winning the Invercargill Gold Cup seven times, this race holds a special place in his heart and he would love to win it one more time before he retires.
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