Palentino Australian Guineas 2016 draw disappoints Zahra

While a cancelled flight has thrown a spanner in the works of favourite Xtravagant’s Australian Guineas preparation, the worry for connections of the second favourite Palentino is the outside barrier.

Boom New Zealand colt Xtravagant is now due to arrive in Melbourne a day later than planned after his flight on Wednesday was cancelled.

Xtravagant is the clear-cut favourite at $3.60 for Saturday’s $750,000 race at Flemington after drawing a seemingly ideal barrier of three in the 16-horse field.

Palentino, however, has barrier 16 and is out to $7 with Tarzino third favourite at $7.50.

“It’s going to make it tough,” Palentino’s jockey Mark Zahra said.

“He’s going to need an extra good ride now.

“The only positive you can look at is you’d think, as long as Xtravagant makes it here, that Xtravagant and Mahuta might run along and they might stretch out and we might find a spot somewhere.

“But it’s certainly made the task harder.”

Zahra will discuss tactics with trainer Darren Weir and hopes the talented Palentino can still get a good enough run to make his mark.

“I wasn’t happy (when I saw the draw), because you really look forward to it. So it’s a bit of a letdown but the race is not over,” he said.

“We’ve got make our own luck now. With a bit of luck and a good ride, hopefully we can still get the money.

“We shouldn’t get in any trouble from out there anyway but we’ve just got to try to get a soft run so he can win.”

Xtravagant’s co-trainer Stephen Autridge, who is already in Melbourne, says the colt is a relaxed horse and while the delay in travel plans is not ideal, he doesn’t believe it will be too much of a problem.

“But it is leaving it a day later than you want it to be,” he said.

“I would have preferred him to be here and settled in overnight and work from there.”

Trainer Gai Waterhouse and Hong Kong jockey Brett Prebble combined to win last year’s Guineas with Wandjina and link again this year with River Wild.


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