Gary Harley Wrap – 11.04.20

Hawksbury based jockey Jeff Penza enjoyed a day to remember at Newcastle Saturday race meeting. Steering home five winner for the second time in his successful career. Three of Penzas’ winners What A Girl ($26), San-Marco ($21) and Loves To Rock ($13) were at double figures while Craideras ($4.40) and Hard Spot ($6.00) were second favourites.

“Very happy to ride five winners for the first time on one of my favourite tracks. It was unexpected with three of the winners at double figures but that’s how it goes. You go to some meetings with an attractive book of rides and don’t rise a winner. The Godolphin 3 year old Criaderas winner of the 1200 meter Maiden Plate is promising. He drew the outside of the field and he was slow away but finished the race off nicely. They were running into a strong head wind. He has a lot of upside.

Hard Spot appreciated dropping back to 1200 meters in the Benchmark 70 and he ran them off their legs. I believe he is going to Wagga for the Cup carnival in May

What A Girls win was a surprise as she had only one trial and went into a 1400 metre Maiden on debut. I couldn’t hold San-Marco any slower at the top of the straight he was bolting. Loves To Rock had a lovely run behind the leader and outstayed them.

The only other time I rode five winners in a day was at the Sapphire Post may years back. While I live 5 mins from the Hawksbury track, I cannot ride there under the restrictions. The jockeys had a choice as to which region we wanted to ride and I choice the North which includes Gosford, Wyong Newcastle The Hunter North West and North Coast” Penza said.

The popular jockey was badly injured in a horrific race fall at Queanbeyan in October 2018. He suffered a broken left leg below the knee, broken arm elbow and ribs. Penza did not ride for eleven months and since returning to the saddle in September he has ridden 48 winners. He has won 2 Newcastle Jockey Premierships.

The only local win on the day came in the final event the 1400 metre Class 2 Handicap. Mark Minervini’ s  mare French Response with Digger McLellan aboard resumed from a spell to snatch victory in the closing stages, the mare was placed in 3 starts over the staying courses before a three month spell, was neglected by punters and went to the barrier as a $18 chance. McLellan bought the mare with a well timed run from mid field to win by a head.

Sydney apprentice Cejay Graham landed a double at the meeting on the Les Bridge trained Madam Legend and Jason Doyle’s’ Lunar Rain.