Melbourne campaign for Antino

Progressive galloper Antino is on a path to the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m). Photo: Grant Peters

Exciting New Zealand-bred gelding Antino is being readied for a spring campaign with Champion Queensland trainer Tony Gollan keen to target Melbourne with the son of Redwood.

A dominant last-start winner of the Listed Wayne Wilson (1600m), Antino has continued to step through his grades with aplomb and has an imposing record of eight wins from nine starts.

“There are a couple of nice options for him in Melbourne,” Gollan told RSN.

“There is a Listed race over 1400m (The Sofitel) at Flemington on Makybe Diva Stakes day (September 16). That will be his first port of call. We will poke towards the Toorak Handicap (Group 1, 1600m) with a race at Sandown in between.

“At this point in time I think he may fit a Toorak Handicap horse but we will just head to Melbourne and let his racing tell us exactly where we should go.”

Gollan has a big opinion of Antino who races for Hong Kong owner Jeetu Ramchandani.

“He has won eight from nine, he probably should have won nine from nine,” Gollan said.

“His versatility and the way he can sustain a run should hold him in good stead when he gets up in grade. He is probably one of the more promising horses I have trained, if not the most.

“This spring will tell us a lot more about him. It is easy doing it in your back yard, you have to go away from your back yard and still be comfortable and do a job. He has got the right temperament to do that.”

A ten-time Brisbane premiership winning trainer, Gollan is confident the rising five-year-old will get beyond 1600m.

“His two wins at a mile have been his best wins and I have never taken him past that just due to the way the preparations have been,” he said. “I do think his best trip will be at a mile and beyond. I don’t know where that fits yet.

“We will nominate for a Cox Plate-type race but whether we are up to that level or not, that is a long way out. At this point we will head to the Toorak and see if he will get out over further but my gut says he will enjoy further.”

Bred by Blossom Trading & Breeding Company Ltd, Antino is by Westbury Stud stallion Redwood, who has enjoyed a stellar season care of multiple Group One winner Sharp ‘N’ Smart, Hong Kong Derby runner-up Tuchel, Group Two winner Platinum Invador and stakes-winning juvenile Solidify in addition to Antino.

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.

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