PENNYWISE OLDER AND WISER - AND EVEN MORE IMPRESSIVE BY MICHAEL LEE
Pennywise older and wiser - and even more impressive
Former crack juvenile Pennywise showed he had matured further during a short break with a superlative win at his first start as a three-year-old on Sunday.
A smashing winner of the first two Legs of this year’s Singapore Golden Horseshoe series, the Argentinian-bred son of Pure Prize tasted his first defeat at his third start, unfortunately in the one that mattered, the last Leg of the series, the Group 2 Aushorse Golden Horseshoe (1200m) on July 13.
Settled at the rear in the big 16-horse field, Pennywise still made stacks of ground to run a creditable fourth to the Steven Burridge-trained Lim’s Lightning.
Pennywise (Barend Vorster) clears out for an easy win on Sunday.
But crossing swords for the first time with more seasoned rivals in the $60,000 Dontellthewife 2011 Stakes, a Class 4 Premier race over 1200m, Pennywise was facing a sterner test, even if there was every reason to believe he would take it all in his stride if his impressive winning barrier trial as a fitter and stronger individual two weeks ago was anything to go by.
Ridden by Barend Vorster in that hit-out with regular partner Nooresh Juglall suspended, Pennywise ($9) produced the same form to a tee on Sunday, again with Vorster doing the honours – jump straight to the front and lead his rivals a merry dance.
Pennywise went on to win by two lengths from surprise packet Keepitup (Matthew Kellady) with debut winner Crouching Sun (Daniel Moor) third another length away. The winning time was 1min 12.45secs for the 1200m on the Polytrack.
Le Grange said Pennywise has never ceased to amaze him since he came to his yard, and he could not wait to see what he really has under the bonnet as he gains further mileage.
“I was very impressed today with the fact that he has actually not turned three yet as he was born in October – and he still beat older horses, and beat them well,” said the South African handler.
“It was certainly a win that was full of merit, not to mention he also had to carry the top weight (57kgs) and was giving older horses weight.
“As there would not be any pace to the race, I was happy for him to go forward and Barend’s rated him very well in front.
“I’m very thankful for the support of (South African owner) Bernard Kantor and I’d also like to thank Ignacio Pavlovsky, who is our bloodstock agent in Argentina and has bought so many nice horses for us, including Pennywise.
“I’ll take it one step at a time with him as he’s only a young horse, like I said.”
Vorster said the visors for the first time were of great assistance in the cruisy win.
“This horse has a lot of natural ability, but he was also a lot more professional with the visors on today,” said the South African jockey.
“Last time, when you ask the question, he can shy away with the winkers, but today he quickened up really well.
“I just let him do his things once he found the lead. He’s still a bit of a baby, but every time I asked him a little more, he always gave me a bit more.
“He has matured further during the time off and has come back stronger. Ricardo’s done a great job with this horse and has found a nice race for him.”
With that third win in four outings, Pennywise has now taken his prizemoney level close to the $150,000 mark for Kantor