Guineas Double for Impressive Palmetto (NZ)

21 February 2022

2020 South Island Sale graduate Palmetto (NZ) wins back-to-back Guineas victories.

Less than two years after being offered at the 2020 South Island Sale with a reserve of only $10,000, Palmetto (NZ) (Ghibellines) is now a two-time Guineas winner and one of the South Island’s most exciting prospects.

The gelding added Saturday’s $80,000 Listed ILT Ascot Park Hotel Southland Guineas (1600m) to his last-start success in the Listed Dunedin Guineas (1500m) earlier this month. He has now won three of his eight starts and $100,943 in stakes for Invercargill trainer Sally McKay, who shares ownership with the 05 Syndicate.

Palmetto went into Saturday’s feature as a $2 favourite, although punters’ pre-race confidence might have been dented by a racing pattern at Ascot Park that appeared to favour horses racing on or near the speed.

But jockey Shankar Muniandy countered that by getting Palmetto rolling a long way from home, looming large behind the front-runners at the 600-metre mark before going for gold at the home turn.

The talented local soon opened up a big lead in just a handful of strides down the straight, clearing out to score a commanding victory by three lengths over Beau Rouge (NZ) (Sweynesse).

“He is such a lovely horse, and this was the race I dearly wanted to win,” McKay said. “I had said to Shankar beforehand I didn’t want to see him unlucky, because I’ve had bad luck cost me this race before. He rode him so well and put him in the race at just the right time.

“He came back in and told me the horse had settled beautifully, and when he asked him to go, there was no fuss, he just on with the job and he did it all very easily.

“I haven’t looked any further than today, I just wanted to get him to the race and for him to do his best. There isn’t really a lot for him going forward, so it might be we put him away for a break. He is going to be such a lovely stayer next season. The penny has dropped now and he is a real racehorse.

“I know there have been offers for him, and that is really for the group to discuss, but we’re going to celebrate this win before we think about anything else.”

The Southland Guineas produced a New Zealand Bloodstock quinella, with runner-up Beau Rouge bought for $15,000 from Book 2 of Karaka 2020. Trained by Shane Kennedy and Anna Furlong, he has now had seven starts for four placings and over $21,000 in stakes.

Vendor Three Valleys
Breeding Ghibellines – Carolina Island
Sale Lot 49, 2020 South Island Sale, Psd (Res $10,000)
Bred by C R & Mrs M N Smith, M C Stokes & Est late L J Howard