In with a chance
ONE of racing's well-publicised bad boys Here De Angels has jockey Jeff Penza convinced a path to redemption will continue in the Ramornie Handicap.
Here De Angels is among the favourites to win the famous Grafton sprint on Wednesday - less than a year after it seemed his racing career was on the scrapheap.
Once an important cog in the high-profile teams prepared by Lee Freedman and Mark Kavanagh, Here De Angels was sold through a tried horses' sale because his atrocious manners in the starting stalls put him on the outer with stewards and punters.
But Here De Angels is on the way back for Wendy Roche, a Goulburn trainer who runs a boutique stable, and Penza is adamant the sprinter has overcome his barrier phobia.
“I've put him through the gates five times now and I'm very, very confident he won't cause any trouble at Grafton,” Penza said.
“I've got to know about his traits and when he is going to rear up a little bit.
“The important thing is not to wrestle with him.
“Besides, drawing the outside means he'll only be in the gates for 30 seconds at the most and that's going to be a big help.”
Penza, who rides trackwork at Rosehill and Warwick Farm in Sydney, is one of the leading jockeys on NSW provincial and country circuits but feature race success during the Grafton Cup carnival has been elusive.
“I've never been on a Ramornie runner who has been given a decent chance like Here De Angels,” he said.
Here De Angels' most recent visit to the races last September ended in disgrace when he dumped Michael Rodd at the start.
On the strength of such an imposing formline, Here De Angels occupies the second line of Ramornie betting at $4.20.
Two-time Stradbroke Handicap winner Black Piranha held favouritism on Tuesday at $3.60