Palentino led home a quinella for trainer Darren Weir when proving too good for Black Heart Bart in Saturday’s Group I Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington.

Palentino proved too good for stablemate Black Heart Bart in the Makybe Diva Stakes. Photo: Darryl Sherer
Black Heart Bart ($2.05 fav) loomed to win early in the home straight, striking the front 400m out but with no answer to the finishing surge of Palentino ($6-$9) who came from midfield before the home turn to score by one length.

Weir said he was pleasantly surprised by Palantino winning.

“It was a good win although I must admit I was a little worried when I looked at him in the yard, he still looked a bit big,” Weir said.

“He settled probably a pair further back than we thought but he was settled – Mark (Zahra) gave him a beautiful ride,

“I knew when he got to the outside of Black Heart Bart he was a chance, I wasn’t sure if he’d get past him but I knew he’d test him,”

Sun Stud purchased a majority stake privately in Palentino prior to the spring and Weir said the Makybe Diva was not the original plan.

“Originally we were going to go to the Rupert Clarke and then the Toorak but Jeremy (Rogers, racing manager) put the Caulfield thing in my head and suggested the Makybe Diva at Flemington,

“Because we’d been heading to the Rupert Clarke we had to change plans so he was always going to be vulnerable in those first couple of runs.

“He got the job done today and it’s great for Sun Stud who put a massive investment into the horse.

“To win another Group I race with him is a big plus to his future stud career – I don’t think it will be his last one either.”

Weir said the WS Cox Plate next month is the long term goal for the four-year-old son of Teofilo.

“This race today was the aim and then onto the Cox Plate so we’ll have to sit down and work out the best way to get there,” Weir said.

He Or She ($17-$13) finished a further two lengths off third, Prince Of Penzance having his 2016 Melbourne Cup odds trimmed after running on well for sixth, the trip completed in 1:36.26.