Jockey Brad Rawiller is full of confidence heading into Saturday’s 2016 Regal Roller Stakes with the Darren Weir-trained Palentino who makes his four-year-old debut in the Caulfield showdown.
Rawiller hasn’t been aboard the Teofilo stallion since a seventh to Puritan in February’s Group 3 Manfred Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield where the galloper returns first-up in the $120,000 Listed Lister Regal Roller Stakes (1200m) on the weekend.
He was replaced in the saddle by Mark Zahra for the then three-year-old’s three subsequent autumn runs, headlined by the narrow win over Tarzino in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m).
Palentino was last seen running second to Tally as the beaten odds-on favourite at Moonee Valley on March 18 in the Group 2 Alister Clark Stakes (2040m), but Rawiller believes he can get the horse back to winning form on the weekend.
A final field of 11 sprinters face off in the Regal Roller Stakes field on P.B. Lawrence Stakes Day this season, Palentino to carry the 60kg equal top weight with the David & Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig-trained favourite Fast ‘N’ Rocking.
The duo are drawn aside each other in barriers six and five respectively, with last start Bletchingly Stakes runner-up Fast ‘N’ Rocking the $3 favourite in Regal Roller Stakes betting at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Palentino is also at single-figures to kick off his new season campaign with a win paying $7.50, a good price according to the bullish Rawiller despite the 1200m looking short of his mount’s preferred distance.
“He is a pretty special horse, he was terrific in the Australian Guineas and looks to have come back well,” Rawiller told Racing Victoria.
“He will be improved on whatever he does this weekend but he has all the class there, I can’t wait to be on his back on Saturday.”
Weir is likely to run Palentino in the season’s first elite level race back at Caulfield on August 27 in the $500,000 Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) before heading to Flemington third-up on September 10 for the $500,000 Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m).
Rawiller won the Memsie Stakes on Weekend Hussler (2008), while four-year-olds have dominated the race over the last decade with six wins in the past nine years including most recently Dissident (2014).
Weekend Hussler and Dissident are also the two most recent winners of the Memsie Stakes – Makybe Diva Stakes double that Palentino chases this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
Weir also saddles-up Voodoo Lad in the Regal Roller on Saturday from barrier eight with Chris Parnham booked for the ride.
The consistent I Am Invincible five-year-old is the $4.40 second favourite having finished in the money in all 13 of his career starts to date including most recently a third to Mighty Like at Flemington on July 23.
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