Jockey Mark Zahra admits that Palentino is facing a tough task after drawing the outside barrier in the Group 1 $750,000 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on Saturday.
The Darren Weir trained Palentino drew sixteen of sixteen and will need plenty of things to go in his favour if he is going to win the Group 1 for the three year olds.
“It’s going to make it tough,” Zahra told AAP.
“He’s going to need an extra good ride now.
Palentino’s usual pattern of racing is settle back in the field and Zahraa is hoping that front running stablemate Mahuta and favourite, Kiwi colt Xtravagant, put plenty of pressure on up front to spread the field out and give him a chance gather them in the straight.
“The only positive you can look at is you’d think, as long as Xtravagant makes it here, that Xtravagant and Mahuta might run along and they might stretch out and we might find a spot somewhere<‘ Zahra said.
“But it’s certainly made the task harder.”
There was drama in the Xtravagant camp when the colt’s flight from New Zealand was cancelled on Wednesday, but new arrangements have been made and he is due to arrive in Melbourne on Thursday morning.
Zahra said that he was disappointed when the field was released and Palentino came up with barrier sixteen, but will have to make the best of the situation and hopefully the pace will be on up front.
“I wasn’t happy (when I saw the draw), because you really look forward to it. So it’s a bit of a letdown but the race is not over,” Zahra said.
“We’ve got make our own luck now. With a bit of luck and a good ride, hopefully we can still get the money.
“We shouldn’t get in any trouble from out there anyway but we’ve just got to try to get a soft run so he can win.”
Palentino is due for a change of luck after he was relegated to second on protest behind Tivaci last start after passing the post first in the Group 3 $150,000 C S Hayes Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on February 20.
Palentino is on the second line of betting for the Australian Guineas at $7 with Ladbrokes.com.au behind the Xtravagant who heads the market order at $3.30.
Victoria Derby winner Tarzino is next in the betting at $8 ahead of Mahuta at $9, Perfect Reflection at $10 and Risque at $11.
Australian Guineas market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $3.30 Xtravagant, $7 Palentino, $8 Tarzino, $9 Mahuta, $10 Perfect Reflection, $11 Risque, $15 Tivaci, $17 Jameka, $19 Tulsa, River Wild, $26 Sovereign Nation, $31 Vanburgh, Sailing By, $41 Bon Aurum, Ready For Victory, $51 Snoopy.