Written by Andrew Eddy – Racing.com. Photos courtesy of Racing Photos.
Enver Jusufovic has long been making a handy profit at the races, but on Saturday he enjoyed his most successful day with a first-time Flemington double.
Jusufovic, who trains at Cranbourne, explained after the victories of good mates Vongole and Pinstriped that he spent many days at Flemington selling newspapers as a kid, so to be standing in the winners’ stall for the second time on the same day felt a little unreal.
“(I was) born and bred in Footscray here, so not too far away, and as a kid sold Heralds up there on the hill, so to be here and train a double is surreal,” he said.
It was no ordinary double either for the trainer. You see the highly-strung Pinstriped is his pin-up horse, but he won’t fire a shot unless Vongole is there with him at the races. So, even if he is not racing Vongole is always there for his mate.
But on Saturday, Vongole was so much more than a travelling partner after he took out the 3AW Sprint (1100m) at the odds of $51. His lifetime earnings swelled beyond $350,000 to make Vongole one of the best possible travelling partners to have.
“Here at the races, Vongole goes everywhere he (Pinstripped) goes whether Vongole’s nominated or not,” Jusufovic said. “He just seems to be a very good companion for him. Owning 70 per cent of Vongole, I can do whatever I want with him.”
But while thrilled with Vongole’s effort, it was the win of Pinstriped that had Jusufovic and connections again dreaming of spring glory after he ran clear in the Winter Championship Trophy (1600m) at the odds of $2.80. Pinstriped had proven a trouble horse of sorts, but with Vongole as his mentor and with a change to his training routine, the horse is finally living up to his early promise.
“I’ve had to turn things around with this horse and build him right up and make him more comfortable with raceday procedures and he was great to saddle up,” the trainer said. “He’s just in a good space at the moment and I think we’ll see a nice horse in the spring.”
Joining in on Jusufovic’s success was jockey Ben Allen, who rode both his horses. He agreed that Pinstriped had the ability to perform on the big stage in the spring. Jusufovic’s hope is that Pinstriped can go on from his victory and make an impact in the spring is not wishful thinking.
Last year, the import Le Don De Vie won the same race before winning a Caloundra Cup (2400m) and then being runner-up in the Group 1 Metropolitan (2400m). Last year’s runner-up was Tuvalu went on to win the G1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) before being runner-up in the G1 Cantala (1600m) at Flemington.