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Chillemi Hoping History Will Repeat with in-form Palencia
It was a case of déjà vu for trainer Roy Chillemi and light weight jockey Nathan Thomas after Palencia raced his way into the Cleveland Bay Hcp with a powerhouse win at Cluden Park on Saturday.
The duo wound the clock back to 2009 when they combined to win the north’s biggest sprint with Kanetoshi King.
Chillemi, who also clinched his 16th Townsville trainers premiership on the weekend, said the similarities were a good portent for next Saturday.
“It’s déjà vu. With Kanetoshi King I just couldn’t get a rider for him with 53kg around here. They said there might be a rider in south-east Queensland who might come up if you pay his airfare and I said give me his number. It was Nathan Thomas and I rang him and told him I thought he was a big chance with that weight and the rest is history,” Chillemi said.
“The same thing happened here with Palencia. He wasn’t going to get enough weight for Graham Kliese (regular rider) and I thought I better start looking.
“So I booked Nathan and he did a top job. Hopefully we can win next Saturday like we did with Kanetoshi King.
“It wasn’t a Cleveland Bay field today but it was a good win. The other option was the Guineas with him but he’d have to carry 61kg over the mile.
“So we’ll go this way and run in the sprint.”
Victory in Saturday’s Ray White Open Hcp (1200m) on Ladies Day provided three-year-old Palencia with a ballot free entry into Cleveland Bay.
He will follow a proven formula for Chillemi who won the 2018 edition of the big race with late season three-year-old Grey Missile after winning an open class lead-up to guarantee a start.
Like Grey Missile, Palencia has been a dominant force as a two and three-year-old in the North, lumping big weights in many of his seven wins.
Taking on open class horses with just 54kg on Saturday, Palencia was strong over the final 200m, fending off late challenges to win by a neck from the consistent Bold Type with Bondi Beau three-quarters of a length away third.
Brisbane-based Thomas rates Palencia a strong chance next Saturday against a field that will almost certainly include Rockhampton Cup winner and last year’s Cleveland Bay Hcp victor Master Jamie.
“He’s the best horse I’ve ridden here for a long time. That was a very strong win and he’s got to be a chance on that,” Thomas said.
“He mightn’t be able to beat Master Jamie but with a big pull in the weights we’ll have a good crack.
“As a light weight jockey there’s always a chance at this time of year of being “johnny on the spot” and being lucky enough to get a good ride like this.”
While Palencia was a hot topic, Cluden trainer Alby Molino had a memorable Ray White Townsville Ladies Day with a winning double.
Molino tasted success with Listen Listen in the Maiden Hcp (1400m) and Just A Love Song in the BM 58 Hcp (1000m).
Fellow Townsville trainer Megan Pervis, who relocated to the city earlier this year, continued a strong run of form with victory with Miss Bulitz in the Ray White Townsville Ladies Bracelet (1300m).
Pictured: Bring on Saturday! Jockey Nathan Thomas (white cap) guides Palencia to victory at Cluden on Saturday. The pair will team up again in this weekend's Cleveland Bay Handicap.
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