Perseverance on an unprecedented scale

NZ HARNESS NEWS

What is perhaps the mostly aptly named horse in the history of harness racing worldwide will make its debut at the Methven meeting on Sunday.

Perseverance Road, a 13-year-old trotting mare by Armbro Invasion will step out in a tote meeting for the first time, in the colours of her Tinwald owner/trainer/breeder, Alistair Lowe.

And if it wasn’t for fellow veteran Valmagne, the debutant would be the most experienced of the 182 horses nominated for the meeting.

Confused? Understandable.

Because, since she had her first public workout as a four-year-old in June of 2010, Perseverance Road has had 139 further trials and workouts.

To say Lowe has been patient is an understatement.

She actually qualified nearly six years ago at her 15th attempt, but has been back a further 95 times since.

The reason, Lowe says, has been a combination of things, including an ongoing battle with soft feet and a willing to be patient as the stock of her sire typically do take plenty of time.

“When I first got her going she developed breathing problems and then she kept going foot sore.

“Her feet were feeling the ground all the time.

“So, I kept giving her time out and more recently I have talked to a few experts about what to do to cure her problem feet and it seems like it’s worked.

“Suddenly she seems like she might be competitive so we are off to the races.”

Lowe says two recent workouts, the most recent on the grass at Methven last weekend, have given him plenty of encouragement.

“The way she’s gone the last couple of times has me pretty happy with how she’s going.”

Her name, while fitting, is very much a coincidence.

“The road I grew up on, which is now known as Winslow Road, use to flood a lot and was called Perseverance Road.

“That’s where her name came from.”

So, all things considered, it’s quite a remarkable display of commitment and, well, perseverance on Lowe’s part to take a horse to the workouts 140 times across 10 seasons.

Why did he do it?

“She’s a beautifully-natured horse and has always shown ability.

“I guess I just thought that if it ended up working out, she would bring us a bit of fun.

“That’s why I persisted.

“Yes, she’s a bit older, but she feels really strong and I think she’ll be competitive.”

Lowe said a few attendants around the local workout scene had given him gentle ribbings as the years wore on and he kept paying the nominal trials and workouts fees, but he was unphased by it all.

“One or two people have asked me why I kept going. But a few have also commented on how well she’s gone at times.

“Mind you, no one has ever tried to buy her. Not that I would have sold her, anyway.”

Racing trotters in to their twilight years is normal in the Lowe family, evidently.

“My grandfather won the Dominion in 1934 with Trampfast, trained and driven by Roy Berry.

“He was 14 at the time.

“My father used to quote my grandfather quite a bit, talking about patience, I guess that’s where I get it from.”

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