The Listed Wayne Wilson (1600m) may have been something of a consolation prize at Eagle Farm on Saturday, but a spectacular performance by New Zealand-bred Antino (Redwood x Mahamaya) has eased any disappointment for his trainer Tony Gollan and got him thinking about spring carnivals in Sydney and Melbourne.
Gollan had hoped to sneak the rising star four-year-old into the field for the Gr.1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) later on Saturday afternoon, but came up just short. The Wayne Wilson was the next best thing, and Antino lived up to his $2.70 favouritism in spectacular style.
The dominant performance was Antino’s first race at black-type level, and it was the eighth win of an exciting nine-start career that has already netted more than A$350,000 in stakes.
Antino was ridden by his regular jockey James Orman on Saturday, and in contrast to his front-running victory at the same course two weeks ago, the gelding settled in the second half of the Wayne Wilson field.
He was presented four off the rail coming around the home turn, and he cruised to the front soon afterwards. Antino strode clear with ease through the final 200 metres, opening up a three-length margin despite appearing to have plenty more in reserve.
“I don’t know where he ends up, this horse,” Gollan said. “I think the sky is the limit for him.
“He’s versatile. You saw him sustain a long run from the front the other day with 61.5 kilograms, and you saw him sit three pairs back today and sprint like he was in a 1200m race.
“So he’s got a massive future. He’s a beautiful-looking animal and he’s a pleasure to train. I certainly appreciate having a horse like this in my yard.
“Once we knew that the Stradbroke wasn’t going to be part of the plan, I said to his connections that this race would be a good option for us to get an idea of where we head in the spring. It probably answered a few questions today. We can sit at home now and map out a bit of a path for him in Melbourne or Sydney.
“We won’t get too far ahead of ourselves today, and we’ll enjoy this win. He’s a real winner. He’s eight from nine now – I don’t train too many that have a record like that, and doing it in town as well. So he’s a very exciting horse, and I can’t wait to take him down south and show him off down there.”
Bred by Blossom Trading & Breeding Company Ltd, Antino is by Redwood, who is enjoying a purple patch care of multiple Group One winner Sharp ‘N’ Smart, Hong Kong Derby runner-up Tuchel and stakes-winning juvenile Solidify.
Out of a full-sister to Group One gallopers Hurrah and Best Gift, Antino was purchased for $27,000 by New Balance Racing at the 2020 New Zealand Bloodstock Ready to Run Sale from the draft of Cheltenham Stables.