A start in the Doncaster Mile is up in the air for Palentino who scored another feature race win at Flemington in the Group 2 $200,000 Incognitus Blamey Stakes (1600m) today.
Palentino is nominated for the Group 1 $3m The Star Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick on April 1, but winning trainer Darren Weir, who notched up his one hundredth Melbourne metropolitan winner for the 2016 – 2017 racing season, said that there had been talk of retirement for Palentino who has now added today’s Group 2 win to his two Group 1 wins.
“It is great to see him back to his best today and we will have to see what the owners want to do this him now,” Weir said.
“Sun Stud (part owners) has been absolutely terrific to deal with and they have put no pressure on me at all to retire him and they would be very happy to see back in the winner’s circle.”
“But from my point of view the horse doesn’t have to do anything else. He has done his job, he is a great horse with a nice pedigree and he is certainly going to make into a good stallion.”
“If they decide to go that way he has done his job for us.”
Weir was pleased to see Palentino back in the winner’s after the four year old had been out of luck at his recent starts.
“Things just haven’t been going ideal,” Weir said.
“Today he did everything absolutely perfect. He got the right spot, he got behind the right horse, they went at the right tempo, so everything worked out well.”
“He has an amazing turn of foot when everything goes well, he is a great horse.”
Winning rider Mark Zahra gave Palentino the perfect run on the back of the leaders and when he loomed up in the straight was always going to be the the one to beat.
Palentino ($5.50) cruised past his stablemate Tosen Stardom ($1.65 favourite) who held for second, three and a quarter lengths from the winner, with Harlem ($51) running a mighty race to finish third.
Palentino showed his liking for the Flemington track with his fourth win there today, with two of those wins at Group 1 level over the same distance as the Blamey Stakes.
As a three year old Palentino won the Group 1 $750,000 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington and then backed that up in the Spring as a four year old with a win in the Group 1 $500,000 PFD Food Services Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m).