Dominant Palmero and Pateman salute

Undefeated over hurdles in Australia, Palmero lead from start to finish at Mornington on Sunday.

A familiar sight saw the famous Aquanita Blue silks and champion jockey Steve Pateman dominate Sunday's $100,000 Jack Dow Memorial Hurdle (3320m) at Mornington as they have so often this season but on this occasion the winner was prepared by Ciaron Maher.

In winning, Palmero ($2.25) remains undefeated after three starts over the fences and led from start to finish in the race which also doubled as the 7th leg of the 2012 J.J. Houlahan Jumps Championship.

Palmero, part-owned by Melbourne Racing Club Chairman Mike Symons and Moonee Valley Racing Club Committeeman Craig Opie, has won his previous two jumps starts at Warrnambool during the May Carnival and in New Zealand in September last year.

In a powerful front running display, Palmero never surrendered the lead despite making a couple of errors at various stages but through brilliant horsemanship from Pateman was able to recover and come on to score nicely by a length from a fast finishing Gotta Take Care.

Maher, who now has the Australian Hurdle (3400m) on 2 June in his sights, said he may have had Palmero a bit fresh on Sunday.

”He was probably a bit too fresh with the three weeks between runs and sort of raced and jumped a bit that way but the horse is just really well,” Maher said.

“He'll go straight into the Australian (hurdle) now in two weeks.”

Maher's confidence in Pateman extends beyond his race riding exploits.

“A bloodstock agent of mine sent me an email of his first run over hurdles in New Zealand and he was quite impressive winning by about 15 lengths so I flew Steve Pateman over there because my passport had run out and told him to have a ride and jump it and he said it was nice horse,” Maher quipped.

“So I mentioned it to Mike (Symons) and the whole Black and Bent syndicate went into it so it was snapped in an hour or two.”

In terms of preparation for the Australian Hurdle, Maher said there was a slight change of mind.

“I was going to give him a flat run at Sandown on Wednesday but because Black and Bent wasn't here today, we thought we would roll the dice with the hurdle.”

Gotta Take Care was the second favourite in the race ($2.30) and finished runner-up a length away from the winner with Seeking The Silver a further 4 ¼ lengths astern in third.

Click here for full race result

- Racing Victoria