SPRING CARNIVAL: Wayne Ibbotson with Alakai and Phil Pengelly with Child Support. The horses are expected to race in tomorrow's  Cox Plate.
SPRING CARNIVAL: Wayne Ibbotson with Alakai and Phil Pengelly with Child Support. The horses are expected to race in tomorrow's Cox Plate. Matt Taylor GLA241018RACE

Trainer and his horses in comebacks for tomorrow's Cox Plate

HORSERACING: Long-time Gladstone trainer Phil Pengelly has suffered some health setbacks in the past few years.

But he hopes tomorrow's Gladstone Cox Plate Day - in which he has horses Child Support and Alakai - will be a forerunner to success.

Child Support is a three-year-old gelding, which will run in the 850m Spring Racing Carnival from 1.15pm while Alakai will feature in the following race, Family Fun Day (1000m) at 2pm.

"I have laid off for a couple of years and I had cancer problems on my face and operations and so on and so on," Pengelly said.

And just like Pengelly, both of his horses are on the comeback trail.

"They're both back from a spell and they're both each-way chances and if they both finish well, then I'll be happy," he said.

"Alakai is a pretty fair horse and she's only had two starts in Gladstone and winning the third."

Pengelly stopped short of saying that Alakai had the better chance of the two horses, especially as it's been several months since Alakai had its most previous start.

Child Support is owned by a syndicate, which includes Mayor Matt Burnett and had one start in Rockhampton for a mid-field finish.

Gladstone born-and-bred Pengelly has been involved in Gladstone racing circles for the best part of four decades.

"I have been all over as well and have been to Sydney and Brisbane but you always seem to come home don't you," he said.

Despite a somewhat difficult period within the regional horseracing industry, Pengelly said the Gladstone Turf Club was punching above its weight.

"It's not only Gladstone, it's right throughout the state and the country places are all doing it tough," he said.

"But I mean, thanks to the president Dave Weinert, he's done a fantastic job to keep it all going and he works very hard."

See The Observer tomorrow for the Gladstone Cox Plate Day Form Guide on pages 37-38.