Fate dealt an opportunity to journeyman jockey Jarryd Penny at Turffontein on Valentine’s Day. A year earlier he had cracked a career first Gr3 victory when piloting Viking Hero to win the Tommy Hotspur Handicap.
A freak accident gave Penny a late chance ride for the same stable in the same silks in Tuesday evening’s race – and he repeated the feat!
They say that one man’s meat is another man’s poison. When SA champion S’manga Khumalo fell off earlier in the evening, the ride on the 3yo filly Wrecking Ball became available in the feature – and trainer Grant Maroun threw the bone to the 25 year old, who had pulled off the shock win for the small stable a year earlier.
Ironically, Khumalo had encountered drama at the corresponding meeting in 2016 when the promising Zambezi River broke down and he had been dislodged.
The lightweight Penny, who has ridden many of his 20 odd winners over the past year down at Flamingo Park, came to the party in his best suit and rode a beautifully judged race.
He had the daughter of Great Britain two lengths off as her stablemate (another Great Britain filly) Queen Laurie went very fast out front.
With the field fanned out at the 400m and many in with a shout, Queen Laurie was still blitzing out front when Penny made his move and brought Wrecking Ball through to challenge the lead.
At the 300m the only two fillies in the field were going great guns, with only Dollar Dazzler throwing out a challenge.
Under a left handed ride, Penny kept Wrecking Ball honest and she ran dourly all the way to the wire to hold off the flying challenge of the revitalised Dollar Dazzler by a neck in a fast time of 56,46 secs.
Queen Laurie ran out of her skin to hold third a further 1,50 lengths back, while Cape challenger Percival showed some pace and ran a decent enough race to bank the fourth cheque.
The winner was easy to back at 13-1, while the fancied African Ruler and Pure Blonde were never seen with a chance and finished out of the places.
An elated Jarryd Penny said that Wrecking Ball was ‘quite temperamental’ but that she had gone down nicely.
“While I hope S’manga Khumalo gets well soon, this was a great opportunity for me. I must also thank Ryan Munger and Craig Zackey who gave me some input as to how to ride her.”
Bred by Kevin Hunter’s Worldwise Breeding, Wrecking Ball is by Highlands Green Desert sire Great Britain out of the six-time winning London News mare, Picadilly Miss. She is thus a half sister to the supremely consistent one-time professional maiden, and now three-time winner, Golden Man (Lateral).
Wrecking Ball enjoyed the honour of becoming her underrated sire’s first Graded Stakes winner.
As mentioned, her third placed stablemate Queen Laurie is also by Great Britain – who enjoyed a good evening as he sired the hat-trick winning Lady Of The World to win the very next race.
Louis Goosen’s Hashtag Strat had opened Great Britain”s stakes account when securing top honours in the Listed Swallow Stakes exactly a month earlier.
Wrecking Ball has now won 4 races with 5 places from 12 starts for stakes of R476 825.
Gr3 Tommy Hotspur Handicap (SAf-Gr3)
Turffontein, South Africa, February 14, R250k, 1000m, turf, good, 56.46
1 – WRECKING BALL (SAF), 53.0, b f 3, Great Britain (IRE) – Picadilly Miss (SAF) by London News (SAF). Owner Messrs G J Maroun, G H Normand & J C Buffey & Mr & Mrs Mark Aboud; Breeder Worldwise Breeding; trainer G Maroun; jockey J Penny
2 – Dollar Dazzler (SAF), 58.5, b g 6, Var (USA) – Isla Bonita (SAF) by Joshua Dancer (USA)
3 – Queen Laurie (SAF), 52.0, b f 3, Great Britain (IRE) – Maggie Kay (SAF) by Lecture (USA)
Margins: 0.20, 1.50, 0.30