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Palencia Magnificent Heart-Stopping Classic Win
Premier trainer Roy Chillemi believes the Hedley racing juggernaut has another potential superstar on its hands after the unbeaten Palencia charged to a last stride win in the $100,000 Cluden Park 2yo Classic (1200m) on Saturday.
Palencia, given a faultless Graham Kliese ride, overcame a wide barrier to nail leader Koheeto on the line by a short half head with Kashkar a short head away third in one of the closest finishes in the race’s history.
“He did this in one preparation. They can only do that if they’re a good horse,” Chillemi said of the son of Australian Guineas winner Palentino.
“We got offered a substantial amount of money for him after he won his first race and we knocked it back.
“We did the same with Tyzone when he won this race (2016) and he won over a $1million in prizemoney. I’m not saying this bloke is as good, but I think he will be a very good horse.”
Chillemi, who is generally conservative with his comments on riders as well, was glowing in his assessment of Kliese’s ride.
“It was a great ride, it was a 10 out of 10 ride,” Chillemi told the crowd during the presentation.
For Kliese, who has won most of the North’s features, some multiple times, the win was his third in the Classic after victories on Mr Marumo (1995) and Sea Zulu (2005).
Racing’s wheel of fortune swung in his favour when he was a late replacement rider for Palencia out of the jockeys room when the gelding won on debut at Cluden in May.
“I was the Johnny-on-the-spot when another jockey couldn’t make the weight. I was lucky enough to get the ride and Roy kept me on. I’ve won all three on him now including the classic.
“When the fields came out (jumped from 10) I knew what I was going to do. I said to Roy before the race, well there’s only one thing to do – go forward and he agreed.
“It worked out perfectly. He’s a lovely horse and he’ll be better out over longer trips.”
The Jared Wehlow-trained Koheeto was given every chance by Ashley Butler who used the inside gate to lead and seemingly had the race won at the 100m mark when he was clear.
But Palencia, who crossed from his wide gate and was fourth two off the fence, was able to make up almost four lengths over the last 250m to get the bob in right on the post.
Rockhampton filly Kashkar was courageous after shifting her ground in the straight to finish the closest of thirds.
While The Harrovian had a nightmare run for home for them in the Stradbroke in Brisbane, the Stephen Massingham stable will be building in carnival confidence with Brilliant Mind who won the Townsville Mini Golf B65 Hcp (1609m).
Brilliant Mind has won five of his nine starts in the north and is gradually lifting his ratings for the major Cup races during the winter.
Meantime, jockey Carl Spry landed a winning race-to-race double, on the Mick Bannon-trained Mackay galloper Brad in the Open Hcp (1200m) and the heavily backed Lifetime Quest for Terry Butts in the Ronald Mcdonald House Class 2 Plate (1400m).
Pictured: Graham Kliese urges Palencia to victory over Koheeto (inside) and Kashkar to claim to Cluden Park 2yo Classic Photo courtesy of Mike Mills Photography.
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