A lifelong love affair with the sport of kings reached its zenith for a well-known Riverland man recently.
Glen ‘Foolee’ Hefford is the breeder and sole owner of thoroughbred Smart Alick, and was trackside at Gawler earlier this month when the five-year-old gelding became his first metropolitan-class winner.
“It was just fantastic,” he said.
“And it was great to be there to watch him win.”
Mr Hefford has owned winners before, including Smart Alick’s mum, Cobby Princess, but the Gawler victory in a $44,000 Saturday race was a highlight, particularly given the horse was nursed back to health after almost dying earlier this year.
“He’s quite smart, but he’s got leg problems,” Mr Hefford said.
“He had an infection in his leg that wouldn’t go away and we nearly lost him.
“But now he’s back, all healed, and I think he’ll do some good things.”
Smart Alick is trained in Murray Bridge by Karen Byrnes, but was sent to Ally Thompson, of Kingston-On-Murray-based Dusty Acres Horsemanship, to recover from the infection.
“She was dressing his wounds every day – it was an awful thing,” Mr Hefford said.
“It took three or four months to heal his wounds and Ally did a great job with him.”
Prior to Smart Alick’s 2.3-length win in the benchmark 68 race over 1200m at Gawler, Mr Hefford’s previous biggest thrill as an owner came when Cobby Princess won a non-metropolitan-class event at Morphettville on Melbourne Cup Day in 2005.
Mr Hefford has bred another son of Cobby Princess that will race at some stage in the future.
In the meantime, his attention is firmly focused on Smart Alick, who has amassed over $100,000 in prizemoney from his 31-start career.
“He’s a pretty good looking animal,” he said.
“He’s tall – he’d be nearly 17 hands high – and all the equestrian girls that help Karen Byrnes out drool over him.”
Smart Alick has been accepted in Race 8 at Morphettville this Saturday.
Captions: Smart Alick – ridden by apprentice Stacey Metcalfe – strides to victory at Gawler earlier this month. The five-year-old’s success was the first metropolitan-grade winner for Cobdogla breeder-owner Glen Hefford. PHOTO: atkinsphotography.com.au