By Ray Hickson
Trainer Nick Olive has given apprentice Ellen Hennessy a huge vote of confidence and a big thrill by retaining her to make her city debut on emerging stayer Pecuniary Interest at Warwick Farm on Wednesday.
The 22-year-old Irish apprentice has expertly handled the lightly raced four-year-old at his past four starts for three wins and a third, including the Bathurst Cup, and Olive said she deserves the ride in the Heineken Handicap (2200m).
“He is a progressive horse. Ellen has had a great affinity with him and it’s great she’s having her first ride in town on him,’’ Olive said.
“She knows the horse so well and he runs for her. It’s a good horse for her to be going to town on.
“She’s a pretty tough kid, nothing fazes her and hopefully she handles herself well.”
Pecuniary Interest, $4.80 with TAB, has taken Olive a little by surprise.
He made his debut in January in a 900m maiden at Queanbeyan, a trip that ultimately would be well short of his best, broke his maiden status three starts later and has now worked his way to open company with five wins from his past seven starts.
Pecuniary Interest wins the Bathurst Cup on September 27
“He sort of snuck up on me a bit, he’s only a little fellow and he just goes about his business,’’ Olive said.
“He’s a good worker but not a flash worker, he’s really spoken for himself to be honest.
“At his first start he went fairly but he improved as he went up in distance and from there he’s gone from strength to strength.
“Some of the races he was beaten in he should have won. He’s one of those horses that keeps winning and before you know it you think he might be something pretty decent.”
Hennessy’s 3kg claim brings the gelding into his first city outing with 56kg and Olive takes some confidence from the fact he’s the highest rated horse in the race despite having not yet raced in town.
He settled near the tail in the Bathurst Cup but worked his way through the field and Hennessy hardly had to move as he dashed away to a widening two length win.
“It was a big step up in grade the other day for him and he put them away quite comfortably I thought,’’ Olive said.
“I’m looking forward to seeing how he shapes up. He’s stepped up and done everything we’ve asked him to, I’ve just taken him one step at a time and if he handles it we’ll keep going.
“We’re just trying to place him to win races at the moment.”
The likely short term target for Pecuniary Interest if he continues his rise is the $125,000 Country Classic (2000m) at Rosehill on November 7.