Pennywise right back in the moneyMichael Lee04/11/2018

Pennywise’s affinity for the Polytrack gained further credence following a brilliant win on the alternative surface on Sunday, but connections have not given up on him being at home on turf as well one day.


Defeated at his last start when tested on turf for the second time (first one came in the Group 2 Aushorse Golden Horseshoe when fourth to Lim’s Lightning in July), the Argentinian-bred three-year-old by Pure Prize certainly grows another leg when he steps on the all-weather.


Even when the 1100m of the Polytrack took a drenching after the heavy downpour a few minutes earlier, Pennywise ($15) was just too good when he came off the bit from his box-seat to easily cast leader Stock Broker (Shafrizal Saleh) aside upon cornering.

Pennywise (Nooresh Juglall) asserts his superiority in Race 9.

The one singled out as his main threat, the undefeated and $13 favourite Richebourg (Glen Boss) had every chance, but stayed one-paced in fifth place about five lengths astern.


Whistling Win (Barend Vorster) did show a touch of cheek when he came within whiffing distance of Pennywise’s haunches, but the game chestnut kept finding under Juglall’s urgings.


Another longer shot ($459) Xiong Fong jumped out of the ground late to rattle his cage, but to no avail. Pennywise won with his head on the chest, with three-quarter length to spare from Xiong Fong while Whistling Win held on for third place another half-length away.


Pennywise ran the 1100m on the Polytrack in a slow 1min 6.96secs for a track rated as good, but which obviously produced a fair amount of kickback after the rain.


Winning trainer Ricardo Le Grange’s first task as he headed down to the winner’s stall was to run his eyes over his prize fighter, especially the legs.


“The win was good, but as the track was sloppy, my main concern is whether I would still have a horse after that,” said the South African horseman who saddled only a small team of three runners on Sunday, with Pennywise clearly his best chance.


“He’s done an amazing job to come into Class 3 against older horses and win the way he did.


“Special thoughts to (owner) Bernard Kantor who just had a back surgery. All the best to you, Bernard.


“The horse was also given a great confident ride by Nooresh. Like I said, fingers crossed, he pulls up in good order after today’s run.


“To me, he’s no one-trick pony. Last time out on turf, it was a soft track and he didn’t handle it too well, but the jockey told me he would handle turf in the future.


“That was why I was worried today with the rain, there are always curveballs waiting for you in racing.


“He is bred to go a mile. Time will tell but we’ll take it one race at a time with him.”


Juglall, who had a full book of rides on Sunday, was relieved he was not going home empty-handed two days before Divali – even if he had to wait until the penultimate event to find the light at the end of the tunnel.


“It’s been a long day!” said the Mauritian jockey.


“I was concerned with the track. He did slip at his previous run on grass and he slipped again today.


“But I’m happy he won again. He’s still immature on grass and is more comfortable on Poly, but once he is more mature, we can put him back on grass.


“I take this opportunity to thank Ricardo and Bernard for this ride and Jacci (de Tert) who does a wonderful job at the stables, and of course, my family. To all, I wish you a Happy Divali.”

Daniel Le Grange