Northam In No Rush With Promising Palazzo Prince

There’s no sense of urgency from trainer Rod Northam to turn unbeaten galloper Palazzo Prince into a Country Championships contender even if he makes it three from three at Rosehill on Saturday.

Trainer Rod Northam

The four-year-old has burst onto the scene with two impressive country wins, a stark contrast to the patient approach the Scone trainer has played with him to get him to the track.

Palazzo Prince would definitely need to win the TAB Highway (1400m) to be any chance of sneaking into the Hunter & North West Championships at Tamworth so that’s the first task.

“He’s in the deep end, it’s not an easy Highway so we’ll get a gauge on where he’s at,’’ Northam said.

“There’s lots of options, I’ll just take it day by day. We haven’t rushed him so there’s no point rushing him now.

“He’s only a 61 rater, realistically you’ve got to be 69 or 70 to get in. If he won I’d probably nominate him but if I have an inkling he’s had enough I’d probably give him a freshen up and get him ready for something at Scone.”

Palazzo Prince was a $14,000 purchase, by smart former Godolphin galloper Exosphere out of a French bred mare.

The gelding, $5 with TAB on Thursday and $26 in the Newhaven Park Country Championships Final market, always showed Northam some promise but was a late starter to racing due to an injury about a year ago.

“He was very immature in the joints when he was a young horse,’’ he said.

“After his second trial he chipped his knee and had to have a bone chip taken out. My policy is if they say give them three or four months I give them six or eight and you don’t have trouble with them again.

“He was a nice type, he’s just grown and developed, but he’s an odd character.

“He’s a really lazy horse to do anything with, you’ve got to drag him around but it’s different when he gets on the track and you ask him to work.”

A runaway trial win in January saw Palazzo Prince start $1.40 on debut at Scone and he scored comfortably in an 1100m maiden.

He ventured to 1200m at Dubbo on February 5 for a Class 1, starting $1.80, and impressed Northam with how he was able to get out of jail.

“It was different to the first one, put it that way,’’ he said.

“It was good to see him do that, he wasn’t pushed to take the run he just took it under his own steam. He wasn’t going to win three strides out but then he was home, he just lengthened.

“He’s got plenty of talent, he’s pretty green, but he won’t be able to make too many mistakes on Saturday from where he’s drawn.”

Stablemate Sharp Shock will head to Tamworth if he’s able to beat Palazzo Prince and others in the Highway as it’s always been Northam’s aim for the four-year-old.

He recorded successive Highway placings at the end of last year but things haven’t quite gone to plan with midfield finishes at his two most recent starts, though there were excuses for his latest effort behind Atmospheric Rock.

Sharp Shock had to go back to last off a wide gate and while he made good ground he found it took big an ask over the 1200m.

“There’s not a lot between them,’’ Northam said.

“He was trained to hopefully win first-up or if not second-up and try to sneak into the Country Championships.

“He’s got one sharp sprint and if you ride him upside down he doesn’t seem to finish off. So you have to ride him quiet and come with one run.

“If he won he’d probably sneak in (to Tamworth), and I’d be confident he’d be a chance in that race as he’s set up a bit better preparation wise.”

– Racing NSW

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