Sargent Dares To Dream Of Doncaster Tilt For Palmetto

Trainer John Sargent’s autumn dream for Palmetto is to earn a berth in the $4m The Star Doncaster Mile so he’s looking for a positive kick off to the gelding’s campaign in the Yarraman Park Handicap (1400m) at Rosehill on Saturday.

Trainer John Sargent (Pic: Steve Hart).

And he’s also eyeing a Star Championships Day 1 feature with promising three-year-old Glad You Think So who has the second run of his Australian Derby preparation in the Midway Handicap (1500m).

Palmetto had a lucrative 2023 winning the $500,000 The Coast at Gosford in May and the $1 million Five Diamonds Prelude at Randwick in October and Sargent said if he’s going to take the leap to a Doncaster he’ll need to continue to develop.

And he feels the five-year-old has done just that.

“I think he’s come back stronger and he should be in for a nice prep,’’ Sargent said.

“I thought it was a nice race to kick him off and we can claim the 3kg (with Molly Bourke).

“He has grown into himself, he was quite weak and has taken time. He seems in nice order as you’d have seen in his last trial so I’m very happy.

“If he comes up well he could get in light into the big mile.”

Sargent said Palmetto, $4.80 with TAB on Thursday, is the type of horse that can take advantage of his inside barrier and expects that will give him a good chance to post an important win.

“From the soft draw he should put himself in the race, he likes to race on speed, and hopefully he will run well,’’ he said.

“If there’s any rain around it won’t bother him. He pings the gates, and he’ll be in the first four or five in the running.

“He has a short, sharp, sprint so hopefully he can produce that good finish.”

Glad You Think So is likely to take the lower road to the Group 1 Australian Derby and Sargent felt Saturday’s Midway was the right move after a pleasing first-up run at midweek level.

The three-year-old came from a clear last on the turn to be narrowly beaten by Soldier Of Love over 1400m at Warwick Farm and while he’d love it to be a mile the trainer says he’s entitled to be competitive getting in with just 54.5kg.

“You’d like to see him produce a decent run, if you have Derby aspirations you want to be running well in a Midway race,’’ Sargent said.

“I just thought a Midway is a nice stepping stone for him. He should get back a bit from the draw and be hitting the line.”

It’s likely Glad You Think So heads to the Group 2 Phar Lap Stakes (1500m) on March 16 and Group 2 Tulloch Stakes (2000m) two weeks later on his Derby path.

“We probably won’t take on the top liners in the Guineas at this stage,’’ he said.

Not to be forgotten, Sargent said he wouldn’t be surprised if Mountain Guest proved competitive in the Midway at her return from a break since finishing midfield in the Group 3 Angst Stakes in the spring.

“She won first-up last time so I think she will run a cheeky race as she gets in quite well at the weights,’’ he said.

– Racing NSW

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