Palentino: From Tassie to Royal Ascot?

Palentino (pic. Sharon Chapman)


Palentino’s breeder, Jenny Watson, was worried she wouldn’t make too much sense.

“I’ve been up all night doing foal watch … I’m a little bit tired”.

Clearly there is no resting on laurels for this, by her own admission, “small breeder”.

Watson was over the moon with the victory of Palentino in Saturday’s Group One PFD Food Services Makybe Diva Stakes, whom she bred on her 150 acre property in Tasmania and sold to Darren Weir for $85,000 at the 2014 Tasmanian Magic Millions Yearling Sale.

“I’m obviously thrilled for our farm, but it’s also a great result for Tasmania,” Watson points out. “I’ve got nine broodmares of my own, but there’s not that many mares in the state overall, yet, Tassie has managed, in recent times, to produce two Group One winners in Palentino and Graeme McCulloch’s Mongolian Khan (2015-16 New Zealand Horse of the Year).”

A son of the Darley based stallion, Teofilo, Palentino is out of the Palace Music mare, Palatine Hill, a 4-time winner who was purchased at the 2011 Inglis Great Southern Sale in Melbourne for $25,000, in foal to Rock of Gibraltar and later producing the handy performer Watch Over Me.

“I put her in foal to Teofilo (Palentino), then she went to Master of Design which resulted in Bella Francesca, a 3YO who has only had the one start down here for Bill Ryan,” Watson adds. “Her Tough Speed filly was sold at this year’s Tasmanian Yearling Sale and I also sold both the mare and her Reset weanling after Palentino won the Australian Guineas.”

It came as little surprise to Watson that Weir would be interested in the flashy chestnut colt by Teofilo. He had, after all, trained Palatine Hill for breeder and long-time client, John Richards, along with her stakes winning siblings in Sublimity and Rather Grand.

“John (Richards) did come up to me after Palentino went through the ring and asked me if I’d like to retain a share in the colt, but I declined. We’re not really big enough to breed and race … clearly the crystal ball wasn’t working that day,” Watson says with a laugh. “I wish them every success though … hopefully he’ll continue to win a lot more races for them.”

That’s a sentiment shared by David Grant, Operations Manager for Sun Stud, which purchased a controlling interest in Palentino shortly after he had won the Group One Australian Guineas back in March.

“Sun Stud is always on the look out for quality colts and we had actually been interested in Palentino for a while, especially when he won a Listed race at Flemington on Emirates Day last year, at only his second start.

“The owners of Sun Stud actually brought the Irish St Leger winner, Voleuse de Coeurs to Australia to race in the 2014 Melbourne Cup and she’s by Teofilo as well. A son of Galileo, Teofilo’s been very successful in the United Kingdom and now here in Australia as well.”

Grant was on hand to collect the Makybe Diva trophy at Flemington after Sun Stud Managing Director, Danielle Cheng, had flown to Sydney to cheer on Thronum in the Golden Rose.

“Looks as if I pulled the right rein there,” Grant adds. “I thought he (Palentino) had a very good chance in the Makybe Diva. He was third up, coming off a pretty good run in the Memsie, and he really appears to relish Flemington.

“Chances are that he will now forge on to the Cox Plate and, talking to Darren (Weir) after the race, he reckons he’ll have no trouble at all with the 2040m at Moonee Valley.

“But there appears to be other options as well. The $1 million Group One Longines Mile at Flemington on Derby Day would obviously suit him too.

“Make no mistake, this is a seriously good horse – to run past a seasoned performer like Black Heart Bart was no mean feat and there were seven individual Group One winners of 10 Group One races in the Makybe.

“The plan has been that Palentino will go to stud in Australia in 2017, but we’re pretty open about it. You take a horse like Criterion, for instance, who has shown you can keep stallions in work as older horses. Perhaps we might even campaign Palentino overseas and run him in something like the (Group One) Queen Anne at Royal Ascot.

“Let’s put it this way … a Cox Plate, a Longines Mile or a Queen Anne would definitely be icing on the cake.”

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