Coolmore stallion Antonius Pius sired his first northern hemisphere winner when Metal Soldier scored over 1000m on the Chester Vase support card yesterday.
The same race has been won by some smart sorts in the past including the subsequent Middle-Park winner Dark Angel.
Metal Soldier (2g Antonius Pius – Shenkara by Night Shift) tracked the pace throughout and produced a good turn of foot to win by a length. He could hardly have made a better start to his career.
“He’s a nice, hardy horse and had shown enough at home to suggest he would run well,” said trainer John Quinn. “He will have learned plenty running here and he’s a real two-year-old type.”
Metal Soldier received a quote of 25/1 for the G2 Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot. He was bred by James and Joe Branngian and was a 10,000 euros buy for Quinn at the 2008 Goffs Yearling Sale. He is a brother to Crocodile Bay who was a Listed-placed juvenile who is credited with five wins to date. Their dam Shenkara is out of a half-sister to French Oaks winner Shemaka.
Antonius Pius has 125 Irish bred two-year-olds to run for him this year and Metal Soldier was his sixth starter in Britain and Ireland.
Antonius Pius is by Danzig from G1 Yorskshire Oaks winner Catchascatchcanan and he was top-class at two winning a Gowran Park maiden and the G2 Railway Stakes at the Curragh for Susan Magnier and Michael Tabor.
The Coolmore partners were looking forward to a lucrative classic campaign with him but all they got in return were hard-luck stories.
First-up, Antonius Pius was second over the line behind American Post in the G3 Prix de Fontainebleau at Longchamp but he was disqualified and placed last after hanging all over Diamond Green.
Next up in the French 2000 Guineas at Longchamp, Antonius Pius was hailed the winner when he went clear at the furlong, however, he took hold of jockey Jamie Spencer and collided with the running rail. He lost all momentum and finished fifth to American Post.
He didn’t win a Group 1 at three but was placed at that level in England (St James Palace St), France (Prix du Moulin) and the USA (Breeders’ Cup Mile).
Antonius Pius shuttled to Coolmore Australia between 2005 and 2008. His first-crop two year-olds include the winners Aelius Big (Orange), Big Tony (Eagle Farm) and Gorborsaan (Taree & Pt Macquarie) from 14 starters so far.
Antonius Pius was not on the roster when Coolmore announced its Australian line-up for 2009 last week.