Leading trainer Darren Weir provided the quinella for the Group 1 $500,000 PFD Food Services Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington today when Palentino upset his more fancied stablemate Black Heart Bart.
Black Heart Bart was sent out the $2.05 favourite on the strength of his first up win in the Group 1 $500,000 New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield two weeks ago but Palentino with Mark Zahra in the saddle proved too strong in the run to the line to score a long neck victory.
The Lindsay Park trained He Or She ($13) also ran on well from the back to fill third position.
Damien Oliver gave Black Heart Bart every chance and after settling in fourth spot in a good paced race moved to the outside on the home turn and when he moved up outside of the leader looked to have the race in his keeping.
But Zahra had different ideas and pounced at the 200m and after a brave fight back from Black Heart Bart, Palentino got the better of him to record his second Group 1 win over the Flemington 1600m.
Palentino was too strong for Tarzino in the Autumn when he win the Group 1 $750,000 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington.
Weir gave Zahra plenty of accolades on a great ride to get Palentino back into the winner’s stall.
“He got a beautiful ride. I knew when he got to the outside of him (Black Heart Bart), I didn’t know if he would get passed him, but I thought he would test him,” Weir said.
“Obviously he just had the one extra run and the other horse ran great as well.”
Weir said that Palentino has now earned a chance to run in the Group 1 $3m Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 22.
“This was the race (Makybe Diva Stakes) he was aimed towards and if he measured up he would head towards the Cox Plate so I guess we will have to map out a plan towards that now.”