Chris Waller hopes to reward provincial jockey Jeff Penza with greater feature rides during the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival after five years of unwavering dedication to his stable.
The trainer has begun by booking Penza to ride both Needwood Lad and Foreteller at Sydney’s Canterbury meeting on Saturday.
Penza will partner Needwood Lad as he takes on the 1,900 metre Rydges Parramatta Handicap.
“His first-up win was flattered by the strength of the competition but he won and won well and he’ll naturally progress to the 1900 metre race and appreciate the distance,” Waller said.
“Jeff rides him in nearly all his work and hopefully he can get the result.”
Waller has been lucky enough to always possess loyal provincial jockeys throughout his training career.
“We’ve always had a good provincial jockey,” Waller said.
“To start with it was Jon Grisedale for five or six years but for whatever reason he went his own way and Jeff came across.
“Since then he’s been a great asset to the stable and he’s an unsung hero.”
Waller is hoping to return the favour by supplying Penza with further good quality rides in metropolitan meetings over the coming months.
“He does a lot of hard work and doesn’t get the opportunities he deserves which is partly my fault,” Waller said.
“I said to him three years ago, `I want to make you the Rodney Quinn of our stable’, and be a very good number two rider.
“I haven’t done it but I still haven’t given up.”
The trainer feels that the winter carnival is the perfect time to use Penza’s skills.
“At this time of the year we should be utilising jockeys like him,” Waller said.
“They are very fit, and he rides all the good horses (in work).
“The Rangirangdoos, the My Kingdom Of Fifes and those sorts of horses, he knows what a good horse feels like.”
Waller feels he has not utilised Penza’s abilities properly due to there being such a high degree of talented jockeys currently available in Sydney.
“I’m still under pressure to make the right decisions and most of our horses are ridden by the very best in Sydney, which is in turn pretty much the world,” he said.