Palmetto (NZ) Comes of Age in Guineas

6 February 2022

Palmetto (NZ) wins the Listed Positive Signs Dunedin Guineas (1500m). Photo: Tayler Strong.

The outstanding potential that Palmetto (NZ) (Ghibellines) has shown since his very first start was fulfilled on a black type stage with a brilliant win in Saturday’s $60,000 Listed Positive Signs Dunedin Guineas (1500m) at Wingatui. 

Offered at the 2020 South Island Sale on Gavelhouse Plus, Palmetto has now earned $54,943 in a seven-start, two-win career, with the promise of much more still to come.

The gelding made a spectacular debut at Riccarton Park in June of last year, outclassing nine opponents and romping to victory by more than three lengths. He has competed in strong company since then, taking on the likes of leading three-year-olds Noverre (NZ) (Savabeel) and Field Of Gold (Starspangledbanner) in the spring, along with a strong-finishing fourth in last month’s Listed Gore Guineas (1335m).

Palmetto’s performances went to a new level on Saturday, settling in the second half of the field before roaring home out wide in the straight to score by two and a quarter lengths in the hands of jockey Shankar Muniandy.

“He’s still got a lot to learn, but has been going well,” said trainer Sally McKay, who also shares ownership with the 05 Syndicate.

“He was always going to relish a step up in distance, although I told his owners he would go a good race today, but would be cherry ripe for the Southland Guineas (Listed, 1600m) in a fortnight. I thought he could feature, but he has blown me away by just how well he has hit the line for a really impressive win.

“He’s a pretty rangy type and still has a lot of filling out to do, especially in his front end. His racing manners have improved, although he was on and off the bit a little today and still a little green in the run home.

“What was really impressive to the eye was how he charged away when he got that split in the home straight, which tells me he has a future over ground as he gets older.

The Dunedin Guineas produced a New Zealand Bloodstock quinella, with runner-up Shameless Tart (NZ) (Shamexpress) being a $15,000 purchase from Book 2 of Karaka 2020. She has had eight starts for a win and three placings – including valuable black type – and $23,692 in stakes so far.

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