He only hailed from across the Tasman, but Palmetto presented more like a European galloper than a New Zealander when he first arrived at John Sargent’s stable.
It has taken two campaigns and a dose of TLC for the horse to acclimatise but now that he has, he’s put back-to-back wins together, culminating in his biggest payday in Saturday’s $500,000 The Coast (1600m) at Gosford.
“He reminds me of a European horse. He came to me from down south on the South Island (of New Zealand) and he was woolly and weak and had no neck,” Sargent said.
“He’s just taken two preps to really show what he can do. That was fantastic today.”
Sargent captured the inaugural running of The Coast with Brandenburg in 2021 but the race’s lucrative purse was a new experience for many of Palmetto’s owners.
Several of them live on New Zealand’s South Island where stakes races often carry total prizemoney of less than $100,000, so plundering a race worth half a million dollars was a huge thrill.
“The Kiwi owners from the South Island, they’ve never seen that,” Sargent said.
“They haven’t got houses worth $30,000!”
Having ridden an early double on the Chris Waller pair of Hometruths and Vowmaster, Kerrin Mcevoy made it a hat-trick when he brought Palmetto down the middle of the track with a winning run.
The $6 chance scored by 1-3/4 lengths over Welwal ($6.50) with Military Expert ($6) holding on for third.
While the winner is plain to the eye, McEvoy says his appearance belies his ability and he believes Palmetto has earned the chance to head to Queensland for a race like the Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m).
“He’s not much to look at but gee he’s got a good motor and he’s got a good will to win,” McEvoy said.
“He’s adaptable to all tracks, which he has shown at his last couple, and I’d say ‘Sarge’ will want to head him north now and he’ll have a look at the Doomben Cup.
“Obviously you’ve got the A-graders there but why not? You’ve got a little horse in form and he could just go to that extra trip and excel again.”
– RAS NewsWire