For an owner, naming the racehorse is always part of the fun, even if it can leave you a hostage to fortune. But in the case of Peniaphobia – which means a fear of poverty – it all worked out perfectly. The colt won yesterday’s most lucrative domestic prize, the Weatherbys Super Sprint at Newbury, and made the men who pay the bills, Peter Timmins and John Rhodes, £122,925 richer, and did so in such emphatic style that his own future may involve kudos as well as cash.
The Super Sprint, restricted to two-year-olds sold relatively cheaply at auction, may be valuable but offers little prestige. Peniaphobia, though, is trained by Richard Fahey, who two years ago mopped up a couple of similar contests with Wootton Bassett before directing him to a Group One victory and did not rule out similar progress for yesterday’s victor. “I should think he will be a black type horse,” the Yorkshire-based Irishman said, “but that’s the sort of horse you tend to need for this job now. We had today mapped out for this lad for some time.”
Peniaphobia, who cost £20,000 11 months ago, was ridden to perfection by Fahey’s former stable jockey Paul Hanagan. As the field split into two groups he tracked the leaders in the main bunch on the stands side of the course before unleashing his mount through the final furlong in pursuit of the 4-1 favourite Lilbourne Lass and running her down by a neck. The filly, ridden by Jimmy Quinn, was easily best of the six who raced on the far side of the track but could not respond when joined by Peniaphobia. But she, too, brought a decent payday; she cost £16,000 in the same Doncaster sale ring on the same day as her conqueror, and picked up £52,000 for her brave second place.
“This is not a bad horse at all,” said Hanagan of the son of Dandy Man, at 5-1 the best-fancied of five Fahey-trained entries. “He got a bit lonely when he hit the front of his group, but once he saw Jimmy’s horse he went again, and there was plenty left in him. And it was great to give the old boss a good winner.”
Hanagan, twice champion when with the Fahey stable, is now retained by Sheikh Hamdan and in that role now tends to ride quality over quantity. An example yesterday was the four-year-old sprinter Heeraat, who took another step up the ladder by notching his first Group success in the Hackwood Stakes. The son of Dark Angel mastered Hamza by a length and three-quarters with Krypton Factor, third in the top-level Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot last month, taking the same position here.
Heeraat is entered in the two remaining Group One sprints on the domestic calendar, the Nunthorpe Stakes at York and the Haydock Sprint Cup. “He deserved that today,” Hanagan said. “He’s been so consistent, and is getting better.”
At the Curragh yesterday afternoon, the juvenile contests were dominated by Aidan O’Brien. The Group Three Anglesey Stakes, taken recently by subsequently top-class types like Oratorio and One Cool Cat, provided a Ballydoyle one-two, though something of a surprise when the stable second string Wilshire Boulevard, ridden by Seamie Heffernan, upset by three-quarters of a length the even-money favourite Oklahoma City, the mount of Joseph O’Brien. As usual in such instances, their trainer was unfazed; he tends to let the racecourse sort out the stable hierarchy. “We’ve always liked Wilshire Boulevard,” he said, “and we left the hood off him this time, and he settled better without it.”
Things went more to plan in the seven-furlong maiden when Australia, the 30-100 favourite, had his 10-1 stablemate Juniper Tree back in third place, with the filly Carla Bianca intervening. It was a successful debut for the well-regarded Australia, who has already been nibbled at in next year’s Derby market. He could hardly be better bred for the job as a son of two middle-distance champions, Galileo and Ouija Board, as his 525,000-guinea auction purchase price might indicate.
He may yet renew rivalry with Juniper Tree, also by Galileo, at some point in the future, which would be fitting enough, given that their dams were opponents on the track with top-level victories between them. Juniper Tree is out of Alexander Goldrun, who beat Ouija Board a short-head in the Nassau Stakes seven years ago.