Group Two Success for Awesome Antino (NZ)

7 May 2024

Antino (NZ). Photo: Trackside Photography

Super-talented Karaka graduate Antino (NZ) (Redwood) was back at his brilliant best with a stunning first-up performance in Saturday’s A$300,000 Group Two U&U Recruitment Victory Stakes (1200m) at Eagle Farm.

The feature sprint was the 10th and most significant win of a 15-start career for Antino, who was bought for only $27,000 from the 2020 Ready to Run Sale at Karaka. He has so far earned A$904,415 – more than 36 times his purchase price.

Antino emerged as one of Queensland’s most exciting talents last year with eight wins from his first nine starts, then travelled to Melbourne and added the Group Three Sandown Stakes (1500m) in October. However, his spring campaign was plagued by bad luck and that proved to be his only win from five starts outside Queensland. He also placed in the Group One Toorak Handicap (1600m) and Group Two Crystal Mile (1600m).

Saturday’s Victory Stakes was Antino’s first start in six months, and his prospects looked bleak as he dropped out to the back of the field and appeared to be struggling to keep up with his eight opponents.

But jockey Vlad Duric angled him back towards the inside in the straight and let him rip, and Antino changed gears and powered through along the rail for a breathtaking one-length victory.

“That was a massive win,” Duric said. “All the plans I thought I had in my head for this race went out the window at the jump. He was off the bridle the whole way and just couldn’t keep up.

“I decided to just switch across to the fence and ride up the fence, and it was a massive performance to get up and win. He was beautiful through to the post and is in for a great preparation.”

Antino is trained by Tony Gollan, who is now aiming the five-year-old at the Group One Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) on June 15.

“I get nervous when this horse trials, when he jumps out, when he races, everything, because he’s just got so much ability,” Gollan said.

“The one thing I said to Vlad before he went out is that this horse really can sustain a long run – longer than any horse I’ve ever trained. And he certainly had to do that today. Not only was he slow out, but he was off the bridle mid-race and just never travelled. He made really, really hard work of it.

“But I knew, once they got inside the last furlong, they were never going to beat him. He just puts those ears back and he has a go. He’s a different beast. He’s not like any horse I’ve ever trained.

“He will certainly rocket into Stradbroke calculations now, if he wasn’t there already.”

Vendor Cheltenham Stables
Purchaser New Balance Racing (Hong Kong)
Breeding Redwood – Mahamaya
Sale Lot 285, 2020 Ready to Run Sale, $27,000
Bred by Blossom Trading & Breeding Company Ltd