BART Cummings famously once said: "Patience is the the cheapest thing in racing, but most people don't use it."
Warwick Farm trainer Matthew Smith and prominent owners Frank and Christine Cook definitely use patience and are reaping the benefits with five-year-old mare Pennington who is chasing a hat-trick at Port Macquarie on Monday.
Pennington, who carries the Cooks' very familiar colours of maroon, white crossed sashes, yellow armbands and cap, will line up in the Dayne Molony/Todd Bates@McGraths Benchmark 65 Hcp (1106m).
The Bon Hoffa mare, who has compiled a handy record of four wins and four placings from just 12 starts, only resumed racing in November after spending 12 months on the sidelines.
"It was just an immaturity issue with her," said Smith. "She's a big mare and her knees were changing so we just decided to give her a long break to let her mature a bit more. Frank and Christine are very patient owners and were happy to give the mare plenty of time to develop."
After running second in a Hawkesbury barrier trial on October 24 last year, Pennington resumed racing with a fifth to Aspiring in a Class 3 Hcp (1000m) at Muswellbrook on November 1.
She then won a Class 2 Hcp (1200m) at Nowra on December 1 then fought on gamely to land a Class 3 Hcp (1280m) at Orange on December 27.
"I thought she was in trouble at Orange last time but she fought on really well to win," said Smith. "That's why we've dropped her back in distance this time at Port Macquarie - the shorter trip will definitely suit her better.
"She's in great shape and has drawn well in gate three on Monday so we'll be positive with her and try to lead."
Smith's one other runner at Port Macquarie on Monday is Lease Of Life in the Carlton Mid 3YO Maiden Hcp (1106m) and the trainer expects the Choisir filly to race well provided she doesn't repeat her last-start anticts.
"She missed the start hopelessly at Canberra last start - I don't know why," said Smith. "But she'd have to be a chance in the Port Macquarie race, especially stepping up to the 1100m this time which will reallly suit her."
Prior to her Canberra mishap, Lease Of Life finished an encouraging third to Fast Cut when she resumed over 900m at Cessnock on December 13.
Jockey Paul King rides both of Smith's Port Macquaire runners.
The rail for Monday's eight-race meeting will be out 3m the entire circuit and the track is currently rated a good 4.