By Ray Hickson
It’s safe to say nobody knows Goldfinch like jockey Deanne Panya, even the mare’s trainer Steve Englebrecht.
Aside from not breaking her in, there’d be rarely a day when Panya hasn’t been on her back and she’s seen a change in Goldfinch in recent times to account for her return to consistent form.
The four-year-old had an early reputation as a speedy 1000m horse with no more depth but narrow defeats at her past two starts tells Panya an 1100m win is around the corner, possibly as soon as the Precise Air Handicap at Rosehill on Saturday.
“I ride her trackwork every day, ever since she was a yearling,’’ Panya said.
“She’s been different at home, she’s been jumping out of her skin at home and is more settled race day.
“She used to be the other way around, she’d be a lamb at home and go hard out at the races so she’s levelled out.’’
Panya has ridden Goldfinch in 22 of her 24 starts, the only others to rider her have been Jenny Duggan and Deanne’s sister Beany.
Goldfinch hasn’t raced since being cut down near the line by Top Striker on a heavy track at Rosehill back on June 29.
“She had a week off at home after her last start so she’s had a bit of a frehsen up,’’ Panya said.
“She’s happy as usual, she hasn’t changed or become quiet or dour. She has the same persona and is ready to go.’’
That tells Panya the mare should hold her form and she’s hoping to mirror their win from Randwick on Anzac Day where she sat off the speed and finished on.
She’s adamant Goldfinch isn’t the one dimensional horse she has a reputation for.
“We were hoping to settle behind the leaders if something wanted to go forward,’’ Panya said.
“We have to go with how she jumps as well. When she won at Randwick she was able to sit in behind them and they set up a nice pace for us, for her to finish off strongly, and I’m hoping it can be the same.’’
Goldfinch runs second at Rosehill on June 29
As it is on most occasions Goldfinch is underestimated in the market at $15 with TAB and the same can be said for Panya’s other ride Testashadow, who is a $26 chance in the Listed $150,000 Maldives Travel Connection Winter Challenge (1500m).
Panya was rapt with the seven-year-old's close up fifth in the Winter Stakes (1400m) second-up.
“It’s hard to choose between them but both are pretty ready to win given the right situations,’’ she said.
“First-up Testashadow was quite tubby and he had a big blow and even in his second start he had a bit of a belly.
“I reckon being on top of the ground a bit more he will run well. We have the extra 100m than last start and he keeps getting stronger all the time. All of those things combined will help him.’’
Testashadow is provided Payna with her biggest win in the saddle when they took out the $1m Magic Millions Cup at the Gold Coast in 2017.