Palmetto powers to Coast success

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had to wait seven starts for his first win in Australia, but the second came much more quickly – and in a race worth $500,000.

A dual Guineas winner in the South Island of New Zealand, the Ghibellines gelding found his winning groove across the Tasman with a victory at on April 22. That was a springboard to even bigger and better things two weeks later, playing a starring role in Saturday's The Coast (1600m) at .

After enjoying a smooth run in fourth and one off the rail, the talented four-year-old was presented by jockey at the home turn. Palmetto powered to the lead halfway up the home straight and quickly kicked clear, opening up a winning margin of a length and three-quarters at the line.

“He's a rough diamond, but he can definitely gallop,” McEvoy said. “He's an unassuming little fella, but ‘Sarge' (, trainer) has brought him over here, nurtured him along and he's gone from strength to strength in this preparation.

“He's got a good motor and a will to win. He's a really determined little fella.”

McEvoy even suggested that a Group One assignment in Brisbane could be within reach for the in-form galloper.

“I'd be surprised if he can't stay a bit further than this,” he said. “He's got the great asset of a quick start, getting himself into a good spot, and then he relaxes and he's just waiting for you. He's purring away, ready to go. He's adaptable to all tracks, which he's shown in his last couple of starts.

“I'd say Sarge might head north now, and he could even have a look at the Cup (2000m). Obviously you're going to have the A-graders there, but why not? You've got a little horse in form, and he might just go up to that extra trip and excel again.

“He's really on the improve, and he's a nice horse going forward.”

Palmetto was offered by Three Valleys at the 2020 South Island Sale on Gavelhouse Plus, where he was passed in with a $10,000 reserve.

He began his racing career in the stable of , for whom he had nine starts for three wins. He collected a black-type double in the Listed Dunedin Guineas (1500m) and (1600m) in February of 2022.

Now racing in the colours of prominent Australian owner Carl Holt, but with some of his original New Zealand ownership still involved, Palmetto has had a of 17 starts for five wins, two placings and $485,079 in stakes.

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