Darren Weir is thrilled with the condition of Palentino ahead of his second campaign appearance on Saturday, but concedes that the multiple Group 1 winner’s 2017 CF Orr Stakes odds are probably justified.
Palentino returned to racing for a classy fourth in the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley a fortnight ago, but the four-year-old is yet to herald any interest in betting markets and has drifted to CF Orr Stakes odds of $19, less than a day from jump.
Weir told Racing Ahead that Palentino has furnished into a serious racehorse through his time away from competition, but conceded that he’s likely-to-be far better third-up and on a bigger track, like Flemington.
“He’s probably a bigger-track horse and he seems to be a better horse third-up,” Weir said.
“He’s certainly improved form his first run and he’s matured a lot in every way. He’s an outstanding looking horse now and he’s matured in the brain I reckon – he’s much more manageable.
“He’s certainly going very well, but I would have thought he’ll need a bigger track and a little bit further.”
Palentino immediately stamped himself as a colt to follow when he debuted to racing in spring of 2015 for a close second in the Viatek Maiden Plate (1200m) and progressed to consecutive wins in the Ecycle Solutions Maiden Plate (1300m) and Listed Hilton Hotels and Resorts Stakes (1400m) before returning to the paddock.
A standout late autumn, the Teofilo entire lost the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) on protest, but responded in the best way possible when he stormed home in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) on March 5th.
Returning to the paddock after running second in the Group 2 Alister Clark Stakes (2040m), Palentino took a couple of runs to find form upon resuming in spring, but again relished the Flemington mile when he won the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes by a length.
Despite tapering off noticeably through two proceeding spring starts, Palentino is sure to have taken plenty of benefit from his first-up and has drawn ideally into the 2017 CF Orr Stakes field in barrier 7, with regular hoop Mark Zahra in the saddle.
Palentino opened at 2017 CF Orr Stakes odds of $17 at Ladbrokes on Wednesday, but has continued to drift as punters rally around stable mate Black Heart Bart ($3.80), Malaguerra ($4.40) and Arod ($13).