Retirement a long way off for Penza

Go One More wins at Goulburn
Jeff Penza upon Go One More after a victorious run at Goulburn. (Bradley Photos)

Most sportspeople are well into retirement by age 47 but journeyman jockey Jeff Penza believes he’s going better than ever.

Any notion of hanging up the whip is far from the mind of the man currently on a high after riding 133 winners this season and another 250 placegetters.

While most of the talk has centred on the metropolitan premiership battle between Hugh Bowman and Brenton Avdulla, Penza has gone quietly about his business to be leading rider in NSW.

It’s just desserts for a tireless equine fanatic who has saddled up in almost 9000 races over the past nine years.

“I’ve just had the best season of my career – it’d be silly to think of retirement,” Penza said.

“At the moment, I’m just focused on riding, and riding the best I can.”

Penza is especially proud of his provincial record this season, with 74 winners coming at a strike rate of 16 per cent.

His particular success at Newcastle, where he was riding on Thursday, and Kembla Grange has allowed him to spend less time behind the wheel travelling to far-flung country tracks.

But he’s comfortable anywhere.

“I enjoy race riding and I enjoy the horses,” he said.

“I have my own horses at home, showjumpers and I don’t ride a lot of work.

“I get up and ride my own horses and proceed to the races after that. You wouldn’t do that if you didn’t enjoy the horses themselves.

Penza has tied up both the NSW and NSW provincial premierships for this season.

He sits fourth on the Australian premiership, behind Western Australia’s best hoop William Pike who has 193-1/2 winners.


Rides: 949: Wins: 133. 2nd: 126.5. 3rd: 125

Prizemoney: $3.29 million

Strike rate: 14 per cent, or a winner every 7.1 rides

(before Thursday’s races)

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