Matthew Smith is savouring every moment with Palazzo Pubblico, realising this is probably her final season before she heads to the breeding barn.
The Warwick Farm feared the mare could have been retired by owner Gerry Harvey before she turned six, but fortunately the retail baron opted to keep Palazzo Pubblico racing.
“Gerry asked me whether I thought we could get another couple of campaigns out of her and I felt we could because she’s so lightly raced,” Smith said.
“I felt we could get some more black-type so she’ll go to stud next year. That was really good of Gerry because she’s one of the best horses I’ve got.”
Palazzo Pubblico has only had 27 races since starting her career during the winter of 2014, and generally has a three-week break between runs.
She opened this preparation with a third placing in the Listed Absolut Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on November 9, an encouraging lead-up to Saturday’s Listed Starlight Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill.
“She went super In Melbourne, she’s come back in really good shape,” Smith said.
Palazzo Pubblico had a 20-week spell after her previous campaign, a time frame that suits at this stage of her career.
“She’s just an older mare. Sometimes you’ve just got to manage them through little bits and pieces and once you get them out the other side they’re good as gold,” Smith said.
He described Palazzo Pubblico, a $16 chance with the TAB on Thursday, as presenting in “super shape” for the Starlight Stakes.
“She’s really at the top of her game, I don’t think I’ve had her any better. We just need a hell of a lot of luck from the (outside) barrier,” Smith said.
Glenall was the $4.40 favourite after the four-year-old won his first start for Hawkes Racing at Rosehill on November 18.
Although he would be sad to farewell Palazzo Pubblico, Smith’s association with Harvey will endure through Cappella Di Piazza.
The three-year-old filly opened her career with a fourth in a maiden at Canberra on November 19.
“She’s taken a while to learn the caper but she’ll look like a city-class horse when she gets the idea of it,” Smith said.