Penitent is Persistent to Land Nayef Joel Stakes
1 Penitent 10/1
Penitent bagged another Group Two success when making all the running under Daniel Tudhope to win the Nayef Joel Stakes by a neck from Andrew Balding’s Side Glance. Premio Loco put in another good effort for trainer Chris Wall and was a further length and a quarter back in third.
Penitent joined trainer David O’Meara at the beginning of the season after being bought for 40,000 guineas and has won three of his six starts this term including the Group Two bet365 Mile at Sandown in April. He came to Newmarket on the back of two fifth-placed finishes in the Group Three Desmond Stakes at Leopardstown and the Group Two OLBG Park Stakes at Doncaster on September 15.
O’Meara said: “He’s been a great horse for me. The ground looked a little slower than good out there and that has definitely helped him. He’s been a grand horse to win a Listed and a Group race at the beginning of the season and then come back and win another one at the end of the season.
“We thought he was a bit unlucky not to finish third at Doncaster on fast ground. He got hampered against the rail and had to check and make a second run. In Ireland he just ran a little bit flat but he was showing us plenty enough at home to suggest he retains all his ability.
“Ideally he would want even softer ground but Danny (Tudhope) gave him a fantastic ride. The owners have become very good supporters of ours. Nick Bradley, one of the driving forces behind Middleham Park Racing, was adamant that Danny should pop out, stay on the far rail and do his own thing. He got it spot on.
Tudhope added: “He is a very good horse on his day. You could probably put a line through a couple of his runs but he is not a horse to forget.
“The plan was to stay on that far rail and, if I got beat, I got beat - that was the plan and it worked. I was probably down for a little bit - they went such a strong gallop - but he is a good horse and more than capable. He’s proved that today.
“He likes soft going but good horses can go on any ground and there is a lovely covering of grass out there.”
Nayef Joel Stakes (British Champions Series) (Group 2)
GLANCE TO ASCOT
Side Glance put himself on course for another tilt at the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, sponsored by QIPCO, at Ascot on October 20 with his second-place finish in the Group Two Nayef Joel Stakes.
Andrew Balding’s five-year-old has been a model of consistency this summer and the trainer is priming him for next month’s Group One event after his seventh-place finish behind Frankel last year.
The 6/1 chance enjoyed an ideal preparation for that assignment by finishing a neck behind the front-running Penitent.
Balding said: “That was very pleasing and he has held his form well.
“I hope that will put him right for the QEII and that is where he will go now. He loves the mile there.”
Chris Wall, trainer of the third home Premio Loco, was happy at the outcome of the Nayef Joel Stakes: “I am very happy - a good effort.” said Wall “I thought it was a stronger race this year with more strength in depth than in some of the races he has run in this year. He was beaten just over a length so he has run very well.”
Asked if the decision to run up the far rail was the right one, Wall replied “Definitely, the winner went there. I thought when I had walked the course that it was the tightest bit of ground, the middle of the track has been raced on quite a bit and is a little bit false in places and I thought it was the right place to be.
“They went a proper gallop George (Baker, jockey) said he couldn’t have gone any quicker early on. He doesn’t quite come down the hill on this sort of ground but he stayed on up the hill really well, so an honourable third.”
Asked as to his charges future plans the trainer said: “I think that is it for this year. He was in work in January because we were thinking of going to Dubai with him and then we didn’t go but we did run him in the Winter Derby (Lingfield, which he won). We won’t go to Dubai this time but if everything is ok we will give serious consideration to the Winter Derby.”
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