VICTORIA'S leading trainer Darren Weir won his first Sydney race on Saturday, in the stewards room, with a horse trained at his Warrnambool stable.
Big Duke, ridden by Craig Williams, ran second behind Our Century in the $150,000 Manion Stakes at Rosehill, before the champion jockey lodged a protest following the nose defeat in the 2400-metre race.
Weir’s Warrnambool foreman Jarrod McLean, who was trackside at a rain-soaked Rosehill, was unperturbed about the protest hearing.
“I spoke to Craig straight after the race,” McLean said. “We only got beat by a nose and I knew the interference was a lot more than that over the last 300 metres.
“Weiry may look at running Big Duke in the Chairman’s Stakes in a fortnight, then the Sydney Cup. I think there's still plenty of improvement in the Big Duke.”
The Warrnambool stable had another feature winner when Palentino was successful in the $200,000 Blamey Stakes at Flemington.
McLean said Palentino deserved the win in the group two race.
“Palentino had been working up to the win,” he said. “His work at home had been strong in the lead up to the Blamey.
“He was looking for the 1600 metres after good runs in shorter races. Palentino’s next run my be in the Doncaster but the final decision is up to Weiry and the owners.”
Meanwhile, Ciaron Maher's imported galloper Duke Of Ellington won the $150,000 Grand Handicap at Flemington. Duke Of Ellington was having his third run for Maher since arriving from France.