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Pennyweka primed for Randwick

RACING

Opaki trainer Jim Wallace is confident his star filly Pennyweka can measure up to the top staying fillies in Australia when she tackles the Group One AJC Oaks over 2400m at Randwick this afternoon.

If the talented three-year-old can complete the Oaks group one double, there will again be a big band of her loyal syndicate members on hand to shout the Royal Randwick grandstand down, with up to 40 expected on course.

Wallace had initially planned to spell the daughter of Satono Aladdin after her dominant victory in the Group One New Zealand Oaks at Trantham last month, but her powers of recovery made the trip to Sydney a reality, albeit at an added cost.

“The ATC [Australain Turf Club] rang me about 10 days before the Oaks at home and said the second payment is due and do you want to pay up, ‘I said no, we won’t make the second payment’,” Wallace said.

“I was thinking at that stage that by the time she ran the mile and a half at Wellington, she would be due for a bit of a break.

“She came home after Trentham, and three or four days after the race, she looked better than she did going into it, so we changed our minds. It cost us $22000 to do it, so we’re hoping it was money well spent.”

At least the fee has been well spread with Pennyweka raced by breeders Wallace and brother Les and the more than 70-strong Galloping Wekas Jazweka Syndicate.

“I think about 36 or 38 of them are coming over at the last count that I heard, so there will be a fair few of them here.”

Wallace believes Pennyweka’s stamina and versatility to handle wet and dry tracks will stand her in good stead in this afternoon’s A$1 million classic on the big roomy Randwick course.

Although all nine of her race day starts have been in the Central Districts, Wallace said she has handled the overseas venture like a seasoned professional.

“She came over on Sunday and travelled well in her first time away from home overnight,” he said.

“She went to Auckland on Saturday night and then came over, and she’s done very nicely. We’re based at Michael Freedman’s stable at Hawkesbury, and everything is going very well at this stage.”

A Pennyweka victory would represent a successful return to Australia for Wallace, who was a regular traveller across the Tasman two decades ago with his multiple group one winner Cent Home.

The high-class son of Lord Ballina made several trips to Australia and was successful in the 2001 Group Two St George Stakes [1800m] and was group one placed the following year in the CF Orr Stakes [1400m] and in the 2003 All Aged Stakes [1600m].

“That was a long time ago now, and he was a frequent flier and managed to pay his way every time. He gave us a lot of fun, so we’re hoping this filly can do the same,” Wallace said.

Damian Lane will ride the talented Pennyweka, who is second favourite at $6.00 on fixed odds on the NZ TAB behind the James McDonald mount Pavitra – runner-up in the VRC Oaks at Flemington during the Melbourne Cup carnival.

– NZ Racing Desk

Chris Cogdale
Chris Cogdale
Chris “Coggie” Cogdale has extensive knowledge of sport in Wairarapa having covered it for more than 30 years, including radio for 28 years. He has been the sports guru at the Wairarapa Times-Age since 2019.

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