In 1973 esteemed veterinarian Jim Wallace Senior established Ardsley Stud at Opaki on the outskirts of Masterton with his sons Jim and Les.
Among the foundation mares of the stud was an Agricola (GB) mare named Agree, and last Saturday the brothers witnessed her great great granddaughter Pennyweka (Satono Aladdin[JPN]-Threepence) win the Gr.1 WRC Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand Oaks.
It was a special win for the Wallace family as Jim Senior’s wife Margaret passed away at the ripe old of 99 two days before the Oaks, while Jim’s daughter-in-law Maddy’s life was celebrated at a memorial service the day before the races. Although they were both sad occasions it did mean that around 25 members of Jim’s family were on course to witness the win along with 70 odd members of the Galloping Wekas Jazweka syndicate who race Pennyweka.
It’s been quite sometime since the Trentham crowd had witnessed the noise levels created by the the support group and the birdcage celebrations only ceased when the horses entered for the next race.
The celebrations continued long after as well.
“She’s certainly flavour of the month at the moment,” stated Wallace, who trains the filly from his Opaki base.
“And it’s wonderful to think that she came from one of our foundation mares.
“Dad died in 2017 and Threepence, Pennyweka’s dam, was part of Dad’s estate. Les and I bought her back. She descended from an original foundation mare called Agree (Agricola[GB]-Sweetie).
“Dad bred her in 1969, he was the vet at Te Parae at the time, where Agricola stood, and Ted Preston of West Derby Stud fame, lent him a mare, and Agree was the result. She is the great great grandam of this filly.”
This Ardsley family has also produced Group One winners Kip and Titch, that Jim Senior and Margaret raced.
Agree herself was unraced, but she was a half-sister to a stakes winner in Romantic Archer, and Phius - the dam of the Gr.1 Perth Cup winner Phizam. She went on to leave Kip, by Ardsley’s resident stallion at the time Forty Winks II (FR). Her eight wins included a Gr.1 VRC Australian Cup and a Gr.2 Queen Elizabeth Handicap. Kip’s half-brother, by another former Ardsley stallion Roi Lear (FR), Boktisan won six races including the Gr.3 SAJC St Leger Stakes, and he was also Group One placed in the SAJC Adelaide Cup.
Agree is the grandam of two stakes placed winners in Rover and Lord Lichen who were out of her daughter Ivy Myrtle. Another daughter Skip, by English Harbour (GB), won three races up to 2000m. She had two foals and though neither raced, but both were producers. Our Sophie (by Kaapstad) had 17 foals, 10 to race and seven winners, the best being Titch.
By Ardsley’s most well known stallion Lord Ballina, Titch won 18 races from 1400m to 3400m including the Gr.1 ARC Auckland Cup. He also ran second in the Gr.3 CJC New Zealand Cup and won the Kumara Gold Nuggets. His full sister Soph won 10 races and was second in the Gr.3 CJC Canterbury Gold Cup and Listed Spring Classic.
She in turn is the dam of The Mayor (Rock’n’Pop) who has won seven races and been stakes placed on nine occasions including a second in the ATR Gr.3 Balmerino Stakes this season.
Another of Our Sophie’s sons, Streets Away, won 11 races and was stakes placed on multiple occasions.
Her daughter Threepence (by Pentire[GB]),was unraced. She is the dam of four named foals including Lord Bouzeron (by Burgundy), a winner of seven races and his older brother Albaron who has won three races. Her fourth foal being Pennyweka, was the first bred by Les and Jim.
“When Satono Aladdin (JPN) was announced I looked at his race record and saw that he had won the Gr.1 Yasuda Kinen Mile in 1.31.5 and the last 600 in 32 flat I think it was,” Wallace recalled.
“I thought he was going to be some special horse. When I saw him, I wasn’t disappointed.
"He was a good moving athletic horse, I liked him so much I sent three mares there that year.”
As an endorsement to Jim’s opinion Pennyweka became the second Group One winner in two weeks for the Rich Hill Stud shuttle stallion Satono Aladdin, and Threepence will be returning to him again this spring.
Since producing Pennyweka she has produced two colts to Time Test.
Naturally, when Threepence had a filly in 2019 the decision was made to retain her. Les asked if she could be placed in a Galloping Wekas syndicate, a small syndication operation for family and friends he and his wife Janine had established in 2014 when they wanted to syndicate Skyweka (Pentire x Blue Hope) who went on to win five races.
After Skyweka followed another homebred close relation in Morweka(Showcasing [GB]- Spera) who won six races, and her younger sister Wekaforce who won seven races including the Listed CJC Pegasus Stakes.
Their younger half-sister Mary Weka (Time Test) is also in a Galloping Wekas syndicate and she won her second race earlier this month.
“I was happy enough to put her into a syndicate knowing that she would come back to us,” Wallace said.
“Originally the two fillies Pennyweka and Maryweka went away to be broken in then came back to the farm for some pre-training.
“We worked them along, and I said to Les, send the other one wherever you like but this one isn’t going anywhere!"
Pennyweka had one start as a two-year-old where she finished third over 1000m. As a three-year-old she made her first appearance at Otaki in September and finished fourth running on late over 1200m. She won her next start at Hawke's Bay, before failing over 1400m at her next start a month later.
She then stepped up to 1600m and ran third in the Gr.3 WRC Elsdon Park Wellington Stakes (1600m), at Otaki. Six weeks later she lined up in the Gr.2 WRC Wellington Guineas and ran down the track, before improving to second in the Gr.3 NZ Bloodstock Desert Gold Stakes (1600m).
At her next start she finished third in the Gr.2 HBJC Lowland Stakes (2100m), before dishing out a galloping lesson to her rivals in the Gr.1 WRC Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand Oaks winning with ease by three lengths.
Wallace reports that she has come through the race so well that he is now considering a tilt at the ATC Oaks in three weeks’ time. -Michelle Saba, NZTBA