Panya claimed the biggest success of her burgeoning career when she partnered the Gary Portelli-trained Testashadow ($31) to a thrilling win in the $1 million Woodford Reserve Magic Millions Cup (1400m).
Panya, who now boasts two wins from four starts on the five-year-old, thanked Portelli for the opportunity to ride Testashadow and said she was delighted with the win.
“I’m super happy, I’m just over the moon,” Panya said.
“Gary (Portelli) has just been a lovely man and I’m so happy he stuck with me, I really owe him big time.
“This horse had all the fight in him but I thought we might’ve got done in a head-bobber and it wasn’t until I came back to the yard and saw our name up on the board that I knew we’d won.”
After beginning well and being allowed to settle comfortably with cover just off the leaders, Panya presented Testashadow in the middle of the track and allowed him to work through his gears, claiming the lead inside the final 250m and fighting doggedly to hold off a wall of challengers.
The son of Testa Rossa scored victory in a photo finish over the Matthew Dunn-trained Perfect Dare ($51) and the Peter and Paul Snowden-trained Snippet’s Land ($8)
Portelli heaped praise on Payna for a brilliant ride beyond her years and experience in the saddle.
“It was a great ride by the girl, this horse runs so well for Deanne,” Portelli said.
“She’s an apprentice and we took the odds to put her back on this horse but she’d won a few on him so we were happy.”
“But what a ride, the speed was on so she backed out of it and came to the corner cantering and I thought he was home but he just kept ducking in and she had to straighten him a few times.”
A $50,000 purchase by Adrian Allan at the 2013 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale, Testashadow took his career record to seven wins from 29 starts and closed in on $1.2 million in prizemoney.
Portelli said the win in the lucrative feature held extra significance for connections.
“The colours we’ve got on are for the Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation because one of the owners is pretty crook at the moment with cancer so this is for her.”
“I just can’t believe it, there is a God.”