Palentino has been backed into 2016 CS Hayes Stakes odds of $3.20 and is set to start the Group 3 event at Flemington tomorrow as a clear favourite.
Palentino made his racing debut with a close second behind Drill Master in the Viatek Maiden Plate (1200m) at Ballarat on September 30 and he scored a maiden win at Stawell on October 12 before he stamped himself as a genuine Australian Guineas contender with a classy performance in the Listed Hilton Hotels & Resorts Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on November 7.
The Teofilo colt returned to the races in the Group 3 Manfred Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on February 6, but he never found clear running and he hit the line under his own steam to finish seventh behind Puritan.
Trainer Darren Weir is confident that Palentino would have been a factor in the finish of the Manfred Stakes if he had been able to find clear running and he believes that the three-year-old is ready to run a big race in the CS Hayes Stakes.
“Obviously that is the $1 million question – would he had given if he had the running – but I think that he would have,” Weir told Racing Ahead.
“He has come through it really well.
“He probably didn’t have a hard enough run for what I would normally like, so we have kept him right up to the mark since and he has had two really strong gallops.
“We caught up a little bit, the barrier draw is perfect and back to Flemington is good.
“I am happy with him going into tomorrow.
“If he is going to be heading onto the Guineas he needs to be powering through the line, unlucky or win it.
“Hopefully it is not the unlucky one, but if he is going to be any chance in the Guineas he needs to be running really well tomorrow.”
Ready For Victory and River Wild are currently on the second line of CS Hayes Stakes betting markets at Ladbrokes at a quote of $6, while Mike Moroney-trained Tivaci ($8) and Caulfield Guineas runner-up Lizard Island ($9) are the only other horses that are available at single figure CS Hayes Stakes odds.
There has been a sprinkling of support for Sovereign Nation ($19 into $13), Bon Aurum ($14 into $13), Top Me Up ($18 into $16) and Vostok ($11 into $10), while Gold Symphony ($26 out to $31) has been on the drift.