Bathurst/Wagga: Jeff Penza on ride of his life   Leave a comment

Bathurst/Wagga: Jeff Penza on ride of his life

Sons Of John wins the Hawkesbury Gold Cup for in-form jockey Jeff Penza on Sunday. Pictur

Sons Of John wins the Hawkesbury Gold Cup for in-form jockey Jeff Penza on Sunday. Picture: Jeremy Piper Source:News Corp Australia

JEFF Penza, his confidence sky high after the biggest win of his career on Sons Of John in the Hawkesbury Gold Cup, can continue his march towards a century of wins for the season at Bathurst on Tuesday.

Penza has five rides at Bathurst as he looks to add to the 89 wins he has ridden during 2014-15, which have him firmly entrenched in the top 10 in the NSW jockeys standings.

Jeff Penza is determined to break through the 100 barrier before July 31. Picture: Jeremy

Jeff Penza is determined to break through the 100 barrier before July 31. Picture: Jeremy Piper Source: News Corp Australia

It is a significant achievement by the workaholic jockey, who missed the first six weeks of the season after knee surgery.

Penza had ridden at least 100 winners in three consecutive seasons before a knee injury meant he had to miss the final two months of the season last year, leaving him on 96 wins.

But since his comeback from injury last September, he has churned out the winners, including his brilliant effort on Sons Of John in the Group 3 Hawkesbury Gold Cup on Sunday.

“My win on Sons Of John is the biggest of my career,’’ Penza said. “It is the first time I’ve won a Group race.

“It was a real thrill to win the race, particularly for (trainer) Jason Attard as he has done a wonderful job. Jason worked out early that you have to be gentle with Sons Of John and space his runs. The horse has had an amazing preparation and won four races.’’

Penza said his goal is to continue his winning momentum and break the 100-win barrier before July 31.

He has winning chances at Bathurst on Tuesday, most notably juvenile Ramla Bay, who is first-up in the Coates Hire Handicap (1106m).

Ramla Bay has been unplaced in his only three starts but raced in a strong grade during his initial race campaign over summer, including his eighth to Odyssey Moon in the Inglis Nursery at Randwick and a competitive sixth to smart filly Perignon at Canterbury.

The John Sargent-trained youngster settled back in the field early in both those city starts and it was again noticeable that he got back early in a recent barrier trial at Randwick but attacked the line to run second less than a length behind Satirical Dancer.

“Ramla Bay is first-up (today) but he ran some good races when he was last in work and his trials suggest he is a horse going well,’’ Penza said.

Another of Penza’s better rides on Tuesday is Alawa in the Lithgow Furniture and Betting Class 3 Handicap (1406m).

Alawa, trained by Barbara Joseph and Paul Jones, has won two of his last four starts, including a tremendous last-to-first effort at Bathurst over 1300m last month.

“Alawa has the ability to race forward or back but from that good barrier (six) I hope he can settle closer to the lead as it helps to be up there at Bathurst,’’ Penza said.

At the Wagga Wagga meeting on Tuesday, punters could do worse than stick with the Matthew Dale stable. Dale is taking six horses, including promising mare Hermosa Beach in the Class 1 Handicap (1400m).

Hermosa Beach won her debut race at Goulburn by four lengths then ran third to the very smart La Speciale at the same track before a similar placing behind Nriangi at Canberra.

The form around Hermosa Beach has held up with La Speciale subsequently running a close second to Campania at Randwick while Nriangi completed a hat-trick of wins at the Sapphire Coast last weekend.

RAY THOMAS’S BEST BETS

BATHURST

Race 2 No. 4: NUSRAH

He was a big street-corner tip to win first-up in a maiden during the Scone Cup Carnival but tired late when sixth to Prime Target. He was sent out favourite at Canberra last start but was soundly beaten by Manatassee. This looks an easier race and worth another chance.

WAGGA

Race 3 No. 1: LE CAVALIER

Good bush sprinter with a powerful finish and came off fast finishing wins at Canberra and Wagga Wagga with a seventh to Tears In Heaven at Randwick when unsuited by the heavy track. The firmer surface suits and he always goes well on this track.

Originally published as Bathurst/Wagga: Penza on ride of his life

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Posted June 9, 2015 by belesprit09 in Uncategorized

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