A start in the Group 1 $1.5m Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on Saturday is on the cards for Australian Guineas winner Palentino.
Palentino had to survive a protest from runner up Tarzino before being confirmed as the winner of the Group 1 $750,000 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington last Saturday and trainer Darren Weir said a return to Flemington this weekend is a distinct possibility.
Weir has reported that the Teofilo colt has pulled up extremely well after his tough win and he is willing to step him up from three year old company to take on the weight for age horses in the Australian Cup.
“At this stage, it’s on the radar for sure,” Weir told Racing.com’s Racing Ahead on RSN 927.
“It’s a pretty big day for a horse, a lot of travelling … coming from Warrnambool, three hours and back.
“A lot of them don’t eat up when they get home, but there was no feed left in his feed bin on Sunday morning.
“He went for a wade at the beach, and a trot and canter, and Jarrod (McLean) said he felt really good.
“All the signs were right yesterday, so we’ll be just monitoring him over the next couple of days, and hopefully he does well enough so we can back him up Saturday.”
Palentino, with Mark Zahra in the saddle, proved to be the best three year old on the day in the Australian Guineas, but his connections had to go through another agonising wait after jockey Craig Newitt on runner up Tarzino fired in a protest after the pair brushed at the top of the straight.
At his previous start Palentino was first past the post in the Group 3 $150,000 C S Hayes Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on February 20 but was relegated to second after Craig Williams on Tivaci fired in a protest for interference at the 900m.
Stewards upheld the protest that day and the large group of owners feared the same result was again a possibility.
Weir can see Palentino developing into a top class racehorse and believes he still has more improvement to come in his next preparation.
“He’s a horse that’s definitely going to get better with another break,” Weir said.
“I can see him in six months being a much better horse, because he still looks very immature in the mounting yard.
“On Saturday, I thought he was one of the weaker looking ones. I think there’s still a bit to come in that side of things.
“He’s not an easy horse to ride, so if we can ever get that straightened out, that’d have to help a bit as well.”
Palentino is currently on the fourth line of betting for the Australian Cup at $8 with Ladbrokes.com.au.
The John O’Shea trained Bow Creek heads the Australian Cup market order at $3.50 ahead of German import Our Ivanhowe at $6 and 2014 Victoria Derby winner Preferment at $8.
Australian Cup market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $3.50 Bow Creek, $6 Our Ivanhowe, $7 Preferment, $8 Palentino, $9 Suavito, $11 Rising Romance, $13 Almoonqith, Fenway, $17 Happy Trails, $21 He Or She, Magic Hurricane, $26 Arab Dawn, Mourinho.