Jubilant scenes after special Oaks victory
Members of the Galloping Wekas Jazweka Syndicate threatened to tear down the Trentham grandstand after they witnessed their pride and joy Pennyweka stride clear in the final stages of the Gr.1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand Oaks (2400m).
More than 70 people associated with the three-year-old daughter of Satono Aladdin let out a united roar as rider Ryan Elliot found clear galloping room shortly after straightening, with Pennyweka proving much the best stayer as she dashed to a three-length victory.
Included in the ownership structure are Wairarapa brothers Jim and Les Wallace, who bred the filly, and their wives Mary and Janine - and about 70 other smaller syndicate members.
Jim Wallace, who trains the filly, had been confident the stars had aligned for his charge after the Wallace family had assembled from all corners of the globe as part of a huge celebration of the life of Madeleine Wallace, the late wife of Jim and Mary's son David, at Ardsley Stud on Friday, only a day after Jim and Les’ mother Margaret passed away.
“That is just really special as it has been a very rough week,” Jim Wallace said.
“For this to happen is right up there.
“There’s a few of them here today (the syndicate) and about 25 of my own family as well, the first time we have all been together in years.
“There are four teenage girls here from America who have never been on a racetrack before, having just a wonderful day and that is what racing is all about,” Wallace said referring to his US-based granddaughters.
“I’ve virtually retired from training but this filly has rekindled the interest and it is great to win a Group One after having my mother die and my daughter-in-law pass away three weeks ago, so this is a great fillip for the whole family.”
Wallace admitted he had some doubts during the early running as the filly was a shade tardy from the gates and was shuffled back to a less than ideal position. But once Elliot found clear galloping room, her class and natural staying ability really kicked in.
“She paraded well before the race but early on I was a bit worried as I thought Ryan was in a bad spot, but when he got the split I thought that is it as she quickened up like a good horse should,” Wallace said.
“I was starting to feel pretty good at the 300m and I’m sure the celebrations are going to go on for a while.
“I’d like to put her in the paddock now as I’m old school and she can do some maturing as I’d like to give her every opportunity to fulfil her potential.”
Elliot, who has now taken out a Group One event in three consecutive weeks and six for the season, was confident he had plenty of horse under him throughout the contest.
“It was a little rough early doors, as we were in a place we didn’t want to be in,” he said.
“At the half mile I had to get out and Jim had her ready and in perfect form.
“She travelled strongly throughout and I just tried to weave my way through and when I got clear air she has really let down.
“It’s been a great season for me and I just hope it continues.”
Runner-up Mehzebeen acquitted herself with merit as she charged home from last to claim second, while Ruakaka-trained runner Mischief Managed clung on to third ahead of Malfy Rosa.
The victory provided Rich Hill Stud shuttle stallion Satono Aladdin with his second individual Group One winner after his son Tokyo Tycoon took out the Gr.1 Sistema Stakes (1200m) at Pukekohe last weekend.
Pennyweka is out of a Pentire half-sister to Gr.1 Auckland Cup (3200m) winner Titch, bred and raced by Les and Jim’s father Jim Wallace snr and trained by Mary Wallace's cousin Kevin Myers.
Pennyweka has won two of her nine starts and over $330,000 in prizemoney.