Alyson Wright is a horse racing trainer proudly sponsored by Hollywoodbets. Along with her husband Kevin Wright, they train a number of horses for the Hollywood Syndicate including Sunny Bill Du-Toy and Honest Prince. Learn more about her start in the racing industry, and the team that makes up her stable at Summerveld. Read more here.
How long have you been in the horse racing industry?
As my mother Penny Fisher is a trainer in Zimbabwe I have grown up around the horses and racing. I started riding work for my mother when I was 14 and started riding in work rider/ladies races when I was 16. This is how I met Kevin (my husband) who was champion apprentice and jockey in Zimbabwe. I started going out with Kevin when I was 16 and we got married in Dec 1994. I was 21 years old.
Where was your first official job in the racing industry?
My first official job in the industry was in 1998 as Stud manager on a Thoroughbred Stud in Zimbabwe called Rumbavu Park. I worked for Christopher Peech who owned the stud and Kevin was stable jockey to Noelene Peech who trained. In 2001 Kevin was offered a job in Singapore for Michael Clements (ex Zimbabwean) and I was an assistant/work rider in the yard. We returned to Zimbabwe and I was assistant trainer to my mom for a year before we moved to Durban with Noelene Peech in August 2003 where I was assistant and Kevin was stable jock. Unfortunately Kevin’s riding career was ended in November 2003 when he was kicked at the start. Noelene then returned to Zimbabe at the end of the 2004 season.
When did you take out your trainer’s licence?
In August 2006 I took out my trainers licence.
Was it difficult getting owners to purchase horses?
With Kevin’s career having come to an end shortly after our move to Durban and Noelene closing her yard after one season, we never really got the opportunity to meet many owners so we started with two horses we bought ourselves at the Durban sale. As Kevin had ridden a lot in Mauritius he had met many owners there and we sold the one colt to Francios DeMee who to this day still has a horse with us.
What was the name of your first runner?
Our first runner was a Zimbabwean bred horse called Not Far Now who was owned by my brother Alistair Fisher, he ran second.
What was the name of your first winner?
Our first winner was a horse called Just Ice owned by Sitha Govender
Highs and lows of your career?
The high so far is having won the Grade 1 Premiers Champion Stakes with Kochka and him being awarded champion 2 year old of 2013. The low was the day he injured his tendon and had to be retired from racing.
What is the best horse you have trained and how did it all came about?
The best horse is definitely Kochka. He was bought at the CTS Sale book II. Kevin and John Jones picked him at the sale. He had a beautiful pedigree but poor confirmation so was bought for R140k.
What do you look for in a horse when walking around a sales yard?
I look for a horse that looks athletic and ‘scopey’ with a good walk.
Where are your stables currently based?
We are in the new barns, Barn C at the Summerveld Training Centre.
What is your best attribute that has made you a successful trainer?
I think having a good attitude is a huge part of training. You need to stay positive and keep going forward. I love being around the horses and I am meticulous about taking care of the little things. Our success is also due to having a great team. “Team work makes the dream work.”
Can you tell us about your head groom and the team at your stables?
Our head groom is Lizwe Kachingwe and he is 50 years old. He has been with us since the start and was foreman to Neil Bruss before Neil left. Lizwe is assisted by Shanhai Sumbureru who has also been with us from the beginning and together they manage a team of 26 staff. We rely on them to take care of the day to day running of the yard. Both are well liked and respected by the staff. Lizwe has recently obtained his heavy duty drivers licence.
Your take on the strength of South African racing / breeding and what would make it stronger?
I believe the SA racing and breeding are a great product and as we have seen our horses can compete on the international stage. I believe if SA could sort out the export protocol we would see a lot more international buyers and the SA product would then be seen on a much greater scale.