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Palaisipan extends Queensland’s spring raid on interstate riches

By any measure, it’s fair to say that the $40,000 Palaisipan’s owners shelled out for the Chris Munce-trained mare at the 2020 Magic Millions National Racehorse Sale has proved a very shrewd investment.

The ownership group, led by prominent owner-breeder Bill Andrews, have so far received a tenfold return on their original outlay, with the daughter of So You Think extending her remarkable race record with a courageous runner-up finish in last Saturday’s Group 2 Golden Pendant (1400m) at Rosehill.

Had she not drawn a wide barrier, both Munce and jockey Damian Lane – who picked up the ride from the injured Nash Rawiller – were convinced the 5YO would have added the Golden Pendant to her growing list of achievements.

They include six wins and five minor placings from 14 starts, highlighted by victory in the Group 2 Magic Millions Dane Ripper Stakes (1300m) at Eagle Farm and a third in the Group 1 Sky Racing Tattersall’s Tiara (1400m) at the same track.

Those performances have significantly increased Palaisipan’s value as a broodmare, but in the more immediate future her band of owners – which include Munce’s wife Cathy – have an important decision to make on where she heads next.

The initial plan had been to send Palaisipan further south to Melbourne to target the Group 2 Tristarc Stakes (1400m) on Caulfield Cup Day (Saturday, 15 October), before stepping up to a mile and chasing an elusive Group 1 two weeks later in the Empire Rose Stakes on Victoria Derby Day.

Munce is no stranger to success at Flemington, having ridden Jezabeel to Melbourne Cup glory in 1998, and he would dearly love to return to Australian racing’s biggest stage as a trainer with a breakthrough Group 1 triumph.

But a rather large carrot has just been dangled in front of Palaisipan’s connections after she received an offer to contest the second edition of The Invitation, a 1400m race for fillies and mares run at Randwick one week before the Empire Rose.

Munce’s instinct is to stick with ‘plan A’, not least as it would give the mare a fortnight between runs, but with a cool $2 million up for grabs in The Invitation the decision is by no means a straightforward one.

“It was a fantastic effort to race three and four wide the entire trip and yet still have the tenacity to fight on and get beaten narrowly on the line, which is testament to her courage,” he said.

“We now have a big decision to make, it was always in my mind to run her in the Tristarc then all being well head to the Empire Rose, but after receiving a call-up to The Invitation obviously we now have to give serious consideration to that option.

“We also have the option of paying a late acceptance fee for The Epsom, but that obviously would come at a significant cost for her owners. My preference would be to stick to the original plan, I’ve got a gut feeling the mare will handle the Melbourne way of going and judging by her run at the weekend, provided she is ridden quietly I’m now convinced she will get a mile in the Empire Rose.

“They’re all great options so we’ll talk to the owners and come up with a final plan in the next couple of days. The good thing is that she’s pulled up fantastically from the race, so wherever she heads next I’m sure she’ll acquit herself well again.”

Palaisipan’s performance continued the purple patch of Queensland horses launching interstate raids during the early part of the spring.

The O’Dea-Hoysted stable got the ball rolling with Uncommon James’ dominant display in the Listed Regal Roller Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield in mid-August, before his stablemates Scallopini and Shooting For Gold jumped on the bandwagon with respective wins in a Group 3 race at Caulfield at the end of August and a Listed contest at Flemington earlier this month.

Rob Heathcote’s speed machine Rothfire (McEwen Stakes) and Tony Gollan’s sprinter Baller (Bobbie Lewis Stakes) have continued the Sunshine State’s momentum with a Group 2 win apiece; and whilst neither trainer was able to secure Group 1 success last Friday in the Moir Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley, with Gollan’s Zoustyle finishing third and Rothfire running a luckless fifth, that could change in the Manikato Stakes at The Valley on Friday, 21 October.

Rothfire is currently rated an $8 joint fourth favourite for the Manikato – a race Heathcote won in 2013 with Buffering – but with neither Nature Strip nor Eduardo likely to contest the race, and with the step up to 1200m likely to suit “The Thriller from Chinchilla”, he would surely start much shorter on the night.


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