Atlante all class in G1 NZ 2000 Guineas

Atlante may lack experience but there’s never been any doubt about the raw talent that helped him win the G1 NZ 2000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton on Saturday.

The highly regarded colt relished the good ground to claim the classic despite a tendency to run about in the straight.  “I couldn’t steer him he was hanging so badly,” jockey Opie Bosson said.  “If he had run straight he would have won by five lengths.”

It was Bosson’s fifth Guineas title after previous wins aboard Danske, Buzz Lightyear, King’s Chapel and Katie Lee.

Atlante (3c Fastnet Rock – Readyforcatherine by More Than Ready) broke his maiden at Avondale and then landed the LR Holloway Stakes at Riccarton last month.  He jumped to the lead yesterday and, despite being headed by Chambord (Zabeel) at the furlong, responded to score by three-quarters of a length.

It was a Group 1 first at Riccarton for experienced Cambridge trainer Murray Baker who is in his second season partnering Andrew Forsman.  “I’ve always held Atlante in high regard and nominated him for the Caulfield Guineas,” Baker said.  “He had a bit of a shaky start due to wet tracks – he’s just not the same horse on a soft track.”

Baker is no stranger to nurturing star three year-olds having put the polish on last season’s superstar colt It’s a Dundeel.

Atlante was bred in Australia by Reavill Farm and is the 14th Group 1 winner for champion Coolmore Stud sire Fastnet Rock.  He fetched $170,000 at the Inglis Easter Yearling Sale where he was bought by New Zealand pin-hookers Lyndhurst Farm.  The colt was re-offered at the NZB Ready to Run Sale where he was bought for $200,000 by Bruce Perry Bloodstock.

Lyndhurst Farm is enjoying a stellar run with its Ready to Run graduates – Atlante joins Savvy Nature (Savabeel) and Super Ninetyseven (Show a Heart) among its stakes winners this season.

Lyndhurst owner Mark Treweek has 21 entrants for the NZB Ready to Run Sale on November 19 and 20 including a Fastnet Rock colt from USA bred mare West of Katrina (Gone West) who has been catalogued as Lot 295.