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Barrier draw decides Smith’s travel plans

The importance of a good barrier draw has influenced Sydney trainer Matthew Smith to send Palazzo Pubblico south to Melbourne rather than north to Brisbane.

Palazzo Pubblico has been scratched from Saturday’s W J Healy Stakes (1200m) at Doomben after drawing gate 12 to run in the Country Achiever Gerald Egan Handicap (1100m) at Flemington from barrier five.

The five-year-old is coming off a last-start third behind Bonny O’Reilly at Doomben on June 3 after which she returned to Smith’s Warwick Farm stable.

Smith said the mare was a seasoned traveller and there was only a couple of hours difference between going to Melbourne or Brisbane.

Palazzo Pubblico travelled to Melbourne on Thursday night and is stabled with Nigel Blackiston at Flemington.

“I scratched her from Doomben mainly because of the barrier but I was also a little concerned about where the track was going to end up,” Smith said.

“The barrier up there makes it tough especially from a tricky start when up in grade.

“We have a lot of success when we travel horses and you need to run them from the right gates, because if you don’t, you pay the price.”

Smith said Palazzo Pubblico was ready to run and in great order.

“We made the decision to run her somewhere this weekend,” Smith said.

“When they’re in that zone and ready to go, which she is, you’ve got to make the most of it.”

Palazzo Publicco has raced down the Flemington straight previously, finishing ninth behind Sheidel last October which followed success at Caulfield two weeks earlier.

Smith will stay in Sydney on Saturday to saddle Jeanneau in the Hyland EOFY Sale Handicap (1200m) and Zayam in the Racing To Win Handicap (1600m) at Randwick.

“Jeanneau’s in good shape, but I’m not sure about her on the heavy ground,” he said.

“She’s come on from her last run at Rosehill and I expect her to run well.”

Smith said the wet tracks in Sydney had resulted in Zayam being behind in his preparation leading into his first-up run at Rosehill three weeks ago and he is expecting improvement on Saturday.

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