Pentasia steals the show
ON AN ordinary race day at Grafton, young jockey Mitch Hayward would have stolen the headlines for his win in the heat of the Rising Star apprentice race aboard the John Shelton-trained Ibalance.
But yesterday was no ordinary race meeting.
A 13-length victory from Pentasia smashed the track record and stole the show for trainer Marc Quinn and jockey Allan Chau.
What was even more astonishing for race-goers, was that they witnessed the track record broken in a maiden, a race for horses who had not won previously.
With a sizzling final sectional of 33 seconds flat for the final 600 metres of the race, Pentasia stopped the clock at 1:01.84.
The prior best time of 1:02.40 over 1100 metres at Grafton was set by Great Stookan, a horse which was winning its sixth race and actually carrying three kilograms less weight.
"I've been bookmaking at Grafton for more than 30 years, and that's as big a win as I've seen in any race," Jim McDonald said.
"It wasn't the biggest plunge I've seen, but it is almost definitely the biggest margin.''
Despite solid betting action for the Shelton-trained Gillian, Pentasia's punters soon stepped in to make their charge a pronounced favourite.
Bookie boards were sent spinning as the horse's price tumbled from $3.80 to $2.20 in the final minutes before the jump.
"The owners have always had a lot of time for this mare and sent her to Guy Walter in Sydney at the start of her career," Quinn said.
"For whatever reason, she didn't show her best down there and Guy decided she wasn't up to city class.
"Whether she was still a bit immature at that stage or just didn't like the environment down there I don't know.
"But since she's come to me she's really impressed me in her gallops."
Jockey Chau was left grinning from ear to ear after the win, in which he burst to the front early and then improved his position from there.
"She even wanted to over-race and go a little bit faster at one stage, but I just nursed her into the straight and she really kicked strongly,'' Chau said.
Pentasia crossed the line an official 13 lengths clear of second-placegetter Bay Alert, with Roped In boxing on for third.
Meanwhile, apprentice Hayward, who won the feature later in the day aboard Ibalance, made amends for his narrow defeat in the Illuka Cup last start.
"I stuck by the kid after he was a little unlucky on the horse last start and he rode a great race today," Shelton said.
"I'm really glad for him because he's a good young bloke.
"I'll probably look to start Ibalance up in Brisbane next time. He's going as well as ever and there is a nice no-metro-wins restricted race there for him in a couple of weeks.''