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Darren Weir’s up-and-coming colt Palentino atoned for a protest loss last time out returning to Flemington Racecourse to win the Australian Guineas 2016, but only after surviving another protest.
The Teofilo three-year-old was first past the post in the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) a fortnight ago, but lost on protest to Tivaci.
He suffered an early blow in his bid to make up for that in elite level when drawing the outside barrier 16 of 16 in the $750,000 Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m).
The only Australian Guineas winner in over 30 years to win from double-digits was Mosheen (16 of 16) in 2012, and Palentino and jockey Mark Zahra had the class to get the job done from that horror draw this season.
The Australian Guineas result was in doubt after the hoop aboard eventual runner-up Tarzino, Craig Newitt, lodged a protest against Zahra and Palentino.
Race favourite was the dual Group 1 winning New Zealand visitor Xtravagant who began very well and punched through to lead immediately.
Weir’s last start Autumn Stakes winner Mahuta also was up there going forward settling into second with the Mick Price-trained filly Sailing By in third ahead of another stablemate to Palentino, Perfect Reflection.
Price’s Victoria Derby winner from the spring Tarzino, coming off a first-up fourth in the Autumn Stakes, meanwhile was travelling back in last by the 1000m mark.
Working nicely just off the leaders in fifth was the David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Darci Brahma filly Risque, the Group 1 NZ Thousand Guineas (1600m) winner having won her Australian debut last time out in Caulfield’s Group 3 Kevin Hayes Stakes (1200m).
Palentino, from the wide barrier, was also well back as the race progressed.
Coming around the bend Tarzino was off the course wide and charging home, Risque coming on down the outside quickly.
Xtravagant ($2.80) was right along the fence, but was swamped and faded quickly getting flooded by his challenges over the last 100m.
On the line Palentino ($9.50) just got there having made up all the ground with just a short half-head to spare over Tarzino ($8), who was also terrific from the back of the field, Risque ($21) running a smart third to round out the Australian Guineas trifecta.
“Amazing, he didn’t have everything go his way again today but he’s just tough,” winning hoop Zahra said moments before the protest was called that put celebrations on hold.
“They were there to beat him and he was still too good.”
Weir agreed Palentino showed great guts in what was a dog fight for the win.
“He’s certainly a tough horse, he done it the right way today,” he said.
“He got a bit of room late and stretched out really great.
“The genuine speed in the race helped a bit.
“He got that room late, but he was in for the fight.”
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2016 Australian Guineas Results
Flemington Race 7 – 05/03/2016
|1||9||PALENTINO||Darren Weir||Mark Zahra||–||15||56.5kg||$10|
|2||2||TARZINO (NZ)||Mick Price||Craig Newitt||0.1L||4||56.5kg||$8.50|
|3||15||RISQUE (NZ)||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Damian Lane||0.6L||10||54.5kg||$17|
|4||10||RIVER WILD||Gai Waterhouse||Brett Prebble||1.6L||6||56.5kg||$17|
|5||13||JAMEKA||Ciaron Maher||Damien Oliver||2L||12||54.5kg||$13|
|6||3||VANBRUGH||Chris Waller||James Winks||3.25L||1||56.5kg||$41|
|7||4||READY FOR VICTORY||Mick Price||Glen Boss||3.75L||5||56.5kg||$61|
|8||5||XTRAVAGANT (NZ)||Stephen Autridge & Jamie Richards||Matthew Cameron||4.5L||3||56.5kg||$2.70F|
|9||7||SOVEREIGN NATION||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Luke Currie||5L||8||56.5kg||$31|
|10||16||SAILING BY||Mick Price||Michael Dee (a)||5.4L||7||54.5kg||$31|
|11||11||SNOOPY||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Dwayne Dunn||5.7L||14||56.5kg||$41|
|12||8||TIVACI||Michael Moroney||Nicholas Hall||7.2L||13||56.5kg||$31|
|13||6||BON AURUM||Ciaron Maher||Jack Hill||7.6L||11||56.5kg||$51|
|14||1||MAHUTA||Darren Weir||Brad Rawiller||7.8L||9||56.5kg||$9|
|15||14||PERFECT REFLECTION||Darren Weir||Ben Melham||22.8L||2||54.5kg||$9.50|
|–||12||TULSA||Michael Moroney||Steven Arnold||–||0||–||–|
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