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Young star Palencia charges into Classic contention
The offers are rolling in for exciting youngster Palencia but the not for sale sign is still up after a fighting win in the 2yo Classic Prelude at Cluden Park today.
Having only his second race start, Palencia beat off all challengers in the straight to remain unbeaten and emerge as a top contender for the $100,000 2yo Classic on June 12.
The son of Palentino defied a late charge from stablemate Boomed to win by a short neck with Well Charged a late closing third a length away.
Premier trainer Roy Chillemi will potentially have four starters in the Classic but had no hesitation to name Palencia his No 1 pick after today’s win under veteran Jockey Graham Kliese.
“I’d have to say he’d be my best because he’s an all-rounder. There’s not a lot between a few of them but he does everything right. He can lead or take a sit and that’s what you want in big races,” Chillemi said.
“We had an offer for the horse two hours after he won his first race for serious money from Hong Kong, but he’s not for sale. We got offered a lot of money for Tyzone too when he was a two-year-old but kept him. I’m not saying he’s that good but it’s too hard to get a good horse.
“He’s a very lazy track worker when he’s on his own and I have to admit he surprised me with the way he won first up. Put him with another horse and he switches right on.
“Graham rode him perfectly today. He suits the horse and makes the right decisions. An old brain on a young horse works really well.”
Chillemi will also press ahead with starts in the classic with the wayward but improving Boomed and his classy filly Husette who missed a start today with a bruised heel, and possibly the lesser performed Figured.
Kliese, who more than anyone has experienced the fickle fate of racing, is buoyant about the prospect of chasing his third 2yo Classic win aboard Palencia.
He won the classic in 1998 on Mr Marumo and 2005 on Sea Zulu.
“The classic always draws a good field and there’ll most likely be a few coming up from Rocky and elsewhere but he was really good again today,” Kliese said.
“It’ll be his third run in the classic and I think he’ll improve again on what he did today.”
Anniemariah, who carried top weight of 58.5kg today coming off a two month break, finished a close fourth and pleased jockey Frank Edwards.
Cairns trainer Stephen Massingham dominated the remainder of the card with a winning treble in successive races.
In his best day at Cluden Park since winning the 2018 Townsville Cup with The Harrovian, Massingham saddled up winners Battle Cry, Full Recognition and Brilliant Mind.
Apprentice Krysten Swaffer escaped serious injury when her mount fell inside the last 100m in Full Recognition’s race and stood down for the final two events.
Pictured: Palencia and jockey Graham Kliese driving to the line to win the 2yo Classic Prelude. Photo courtesy of Mike Mills Photo courtesy of Mike Mills Photography
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