Matthew Dale books out the Penthouse after Highway victory

Matthew Dale greets Penthouse after her good win in the Highway Handicap at Hawkesbury on Saturday.
Photo: Bradley Photos.

If you were on the Matthew Dale-trained Penthouse in Saturday’s 1100m Highway Handicap at Hawkesbury, it was a relatively easy watch. 

With Hannah Williams in the saddle, the three-year-old bounced nicely from gate 15 in the $120,000 event, and the pair crossed quickly to take the lead. 

While the Capitalist filly ran about down the Hawkesbury straight, her class prevailed in the end, with Penthouse ($6.50) never headed when winning by 1.19 lengths from the Scott Singleton-trained Dollar Magic (Reece Jones, $3.80), while in third and 2.25 lengths back was the Cameron Crockett-trained Titration (James McDonald, $6). 

“It was a good, strong win for a three-year-old filly with the top weight, which crossed to the front from the wide gate and then came up the centre of the track,” Dale said. 

“It was a great ride and well executed by Hannah Williams.” 

Penthouse is well-travelled after just nine starts, winning three times and placing on three occasions, earning nearly $200,000 in prizemoney. 

The Goulburn galloper showed a lot of upside as a two-year-old, finishing third in the Listed Calaway Gal Stakes (1000m) at Eagle Farm in late 2021 before winning her maiden (1000m) at Canberra in early 2022. 

She was again Listed-placed when finishing third in the Vinery Woodlands Stakes (1100m) at Scone in May last year.

Following a 24-week spell, she contested the Magic Millions (1100m) for three-year-olds and four-year-olds at Ballarat, finishing third in the $175,000 event before winning the Class Three Highway Handicap (1000m) at Royal Randwick late last year.

Saturday’s win is her second in a Highway Handicap, and Dale hinted that she would be off to Scone next month to contest the Denise’s Joy Stakes (1100m), a restricted event for three-year-old fillies. 

“She was twice Stakes placed as a two-year-old, and now she’s won a couple of Highway races,” Dale said. 

“She will go to Scone in a couple of weeks and have a crack at that Stakes race.”

Penthouse was a $55,000 purchase at the 2021 Magic Millions Yearling Sale and is out of Undoubted Pleasure (Not A Single Doubt x Sybarite), which produced the $310,000 (x Deep Field) purchase at the 2019 Magic Millions Yearling Sale and the $110,000 (x Pierro) purchase at the 2023 Inglis Classic Yearling Sale. 

Penthouse will undoubtedly head to the paddock in the long run, but Dale was still determining when he would pull the trigger, especially while she is racing so consistently. 

“We may end up in the breeding barn, but she is a sound horse, she likes her racing, and she is tough,” Dale said. 

“We’ll see how she goes and assess her again as a four-year-old.” 

The Goulburn trainer followed Saturday’s win at Hawkesbury with a feature-race win at Wagga on Sunday, with Toretto (Nick Heywood, $4) winning the $45,000 Murrumbidgee Cup (1800m). 

Toretto hit the line strongly for Heywood before holding on gamely to win by 0.13 of a length from the Terry Robinson-trained Roseirro (Shaun Guymer, $12), while in third and 1.29 lengths back was the Keith Dryden-trained Offspring (Jeff Penza, $3,40). 

The five-year-old had been knocking on the door of a victory after good recent form in the Country Championships before a midweek placing at Hawkesbury earlier this month.