Palentino maintained his excellent record over Flemington’s 1600-metre route, winning Saturday’s Group 2 Blamey Stakes and in the process providing Darren Weir with his 100th Melbourne winner for the season.
Palentino ($5.50) settled in the box-seat before displaying a sharp turn of foot to secure victory by three-and-a-quarter lengths ahead of stablemate Tosen Stardom ($1.65 favourite).
French import Harlem ($51) ran well at his Australian debut for Lindsay Park, finishing third ahead of the Weir-trained Real Love ($17).
“It’s a mile at Flemington, what more can you say,” Zahra said of Palentino who has now won three of his four starts over the track and distance.
“I was tracking Tosen Stardom to the home turn and travelling much better.
“I didn’t want to go for home too soon but when I went for home he put Tosen Stardom away quickly,” Zahra added.
It’s the second consecutive season Weir has trained at least 100 winners in Melbourne. With over a quarter of the season remaining, Weir looks all-but certain to pass Lee Freedman’s record of 115 winners in a season.
Palentino may now have his next start in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick on April 1. His only run over the Randwick mile resulted in him finishing last in October's Epsom Handicap as a $6 chance.
Palentino, picture Quentinjlang.com