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Premiership-winner Pannell points to trainer as turning point

Premiership-winning SA jockey Todd Pannell has identified his union with trainer Will Clarken as a turning point in his career.

Pannell has captured his first-ever senior metropolitan riding title, while also adding the overall SA crown and SA provincial premiership to his 2019/20 trophy haul.

His outstanding season included a second Group 1 success, aboard Bella Vella in the Sangster Stakes (TAB Classic) for Morphettville trainer Clarken.

“Teaming up with Will Clarken has made a big impact on my career the last few seasons,” Pannell said.

“It’s good to be with a growing stable like that. If he’s getting the winners, I’m getting the winners, and these past couple of seasons have been super.”

Pannell rode an impressive 43 metro winners last season, six short of Raquel Clark. The 2019/20 battle tightened in the second part of the season, but Pannell said he was pleased to fight off the challenges of Kayla Crowther and Jason Holder.

“It definitely got a bit tense there for a month or so, as my lead was dwindling to about seven or eight,” he said.

“But I had a good weekend at Murray Bridge and that sort of brought the lead back to 12 so that was a big relief.

“And to keep the winners ticking over for the next month has been really good.
“I’m really happy about the season – to win this premiership has been a long time coming.”

While Pannell has been grateful for the association with Clarken, he says his manager Melissa Shields deserves special recognition.

“She’s been my only manager, for about 13 years now, and she does a super job,” he said.

“I had her in Brisbane, and I didn’t want to let her go when I came back to Adelaide in 2010, so she’s been a huge help.

“She gets along with all the trainers, she works hard to get me rides, and it’s really paying off now.”

Pannell rode his first winner way back in 2003, at Kembla Grange for trainer John Hawkes.

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