Pinstriped won the VOBIS Gold Carat at The Valley on Saturday
By Ben Caluzzi
Enver Jusufovic and Gary Mudgway paid $80,000 for a son of Street Boss at the 2019 Magic Millions National Weanling Sale. It was $30,000 more than they were initially prepared to spend, but now reaping the rewards; it may prove to be the best decision they have ever made.
Later named Pinstriped due to the distinctive white blaze running down the crown of his head, the talented three-year-old chestnut has now won both of his career starts to date – each as impressive as one another for different reasons.
He made his debut on a Heavy 9 at Moe and bolted in by a widening five-and-a-half length margin, and then last weekend at The Valley he backed that performance up by winning the $175,000 VOBIS Gold Carat.
With a swooping run from well back, he was able to circle the field and beat the likes of Danny’s St Darci who had won three of her past four starts, Finance Tycoon who ran 4th in last year’s Blue Diamond and then Luna Cat and Lord Paramount – both winners at The Valley this preparation also.
It was the victory of a high-class animal, summed up perfectly by a jockey who knew exactly what he had underneath him, and when that jockey, Michael Dee got off the horse and exchanged words with EJ post-race, the unexplicit tale of events was simply “Get him to the Guineas.”
“Just the way he did it. I thought the race pattern on the day didn’t help horses coming from out wide,” Jusufovic said.
“It was only his second start, first time at Moonee Valley and he won under hands and heels. I thought there was a lot of merit in it.”
Before Saturday Pinstriped wasn’t yet entered for the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m), but it didn’t take long for his trainer to pay the late nomination fee post Saturday’s impressive performance. Pinstriped will now target the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) at Flemington before returning for the Guineas two weeks later, and Jusufovic can’t wait to see him step up in trip.
Running the fastest splits home of the meeting on debut over 1117 metres and then again, the race fastest home over 1200 metres last start, all looks in favour of Pinstriped running an extended journey and that is sure to open up many more avenues for him going forward.
“He works like a 1400 metre – miler, he’s still maturing but I think when he gets stronger, he may even get further than that.
“It’s hard to say early days (what his best distance will be), but we’re looking forward to seeing him develop.”
Enver Jusufovic has only had a handful of Group-class horses in his time training, but Pinstriped could easily assert himself as the best horse he’s ever had in the next 12 months. The unbeaten three-year-old is also proving a bargain investment for his large group of owners, many of whom are in a horse for the first time.
“Some are original stable clients and they’ve brought in friends, and it’s just grown from there. A lot of them have just got small shares.
“For a few of them it’s actually their first horse, so they’re extremely pleased and extremely lucky.”
While it has been a busy 48-hour period for Enver Jusufovic who has been on media street due to the weekend’s events, the Cranbourne based trainer says going to work has been made easier with the excitement building around his stable.
A racing purist whose first winner as a trainer came in 1998, Enver Jusufovic will be hoping for his first ever Group 1 win in two months’ time – saying victory in the Guineas will mean everything to him.
“It would be one of my childhood dreams. It’s not about the money, it’s more about earning respect at what you do in life.
“A lot of sacrifice and preparation has gone into my life for me to get here and get a good horse.
“To do that would be one of the ultimate achievements in my life.
“I’m a purist. I sold herald at Flemington when I was a kid. I’ve got racing in my blood, I just love it – so that’s what it means to me.”
The red, black and white ties will be out in force at Flemington on March 5, and let’s hope for passionate Jusufovic and his equally invested ownership group that Pinstriped can win the Guineas.