Antrim Coast Melbourne Bound

He beat all but glamour filly Orchestral in the Gr.1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) at Ellerslie earlier this month and now Antrim Coast will be given his chance to test his talent across the Tasman.

Bred by The Oaks Stud, the son of Roc De Cambes races in the blue and white silks of farm principal Dick Karreman, for whom he has been a standout in his three-year-old year.

Under the care of Cambridge trainer Stephen Marsh, Antrim Coast has won two of his seven starts this term and secured black-type with his Derby performance.

The Oaks Stud General Manager Rick Williams was rapt with his second placed run in the Ellerslie Classic and said that gave the Cambridge-based team the confidence to press on for an Australian campaign.

“It (NZ Derby) was a really honestly run race,” Williams said. “We all knew the filly (Orchestral) was better than the rest of us, but I was so pleased that he found the line well. I think ultimately he will be a two-mile horse.

“He has bounced through the Derby. We gave him a week off at the farm and he put on so much weight, he certainly hasn’t come to the end of his campaign – he is made of steel this horse.”

Antrim Coast will fly to Melbourne this week ahead of making his Australian debut at The Valley on Saturday in the Gr.2 Alister Clark (2040m), with his performance dictating the remainder of his Australian campaign.

“Saturday will work out how we plan his races from now on and whether we go to South Australia or Queensland. We will get a line on where he sits in the pecking order over there,” Williams said.

“Subject to his run on Saturday, we will find a couple of races for him. He is a horse that can handle Heavy tracks right through to Good tracks.”

Antrim Coast has been one of a number of quality three-year-olds to carry Karreman’s colours this season, however, a number of them have had their season curtailed by injury.

Burn To Shine struck early in spring, winning first-up at Te Rapa before finishing runner-up in the Listed El Roca – Sir Colin Meads Trophy (1200m) and third in the Gr.2 Hawke’s Bay Guineas (1400m), before trekking south to Riccarton where he won the Gr.3 War Decree Stakes (1600m).

He was freshened following his ninth placed run in the Gr.1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m), but has returned to the paddock after injuring a tendon following his placing over 1400m at Te Rapa last month.

“Burn To Shine is out with a tendon injury, so we have had a bit of bad luck with horses getting different injuries and having to be turned out,” said Williams, with $350,000 Karapiro Classic (1600m) placegetter Vera Rose having faced a similar fate.

“She (Vera Rose) has got a bit of a knee issue that needs sorted. It is not major but it her three-year-old year is over, but they will all be back.”

Fellow The Oaks Stud homebred Harlow Rocks is also enjoying some well-earned time in the paddock, with her three-year-old campaign coming to a close following her 12th placed run in the Gr.1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) at Trentham last Saturday.

She had been in pleasing form prior to her Oaks assignment, having finished runner-up to Group One winner Molly Bloom in the Gr.2 David and Karyn Ellis Fillies Classic (2000m) at Te Rapa last month before finishing fourth in the postponed Gr.2 Lowland Stakes (2100m) at Taupo.

“She has come through the Oaks well but she will be turned out for a spell now,” Williams said. “I am not sure a mile and a half is her trip, but we got there and had to run. I think she is a 2000m horse if you take a line on Molly Bloom being the only one to beat her at Te Rapa.

“It was a funny race at Taupo, and everything got a bit mucked up with the Lowland Stakes being postponed and it didn’t suit the horse she was and the prep she had. In saying that, Chad Ormsby’s horse (Pulchritudinous) won despite that, but I think they are two different horses – one is an out-and-out stayer and the other is a more brilliant horse.”

Meanwhile, The Oaks Stud’s exciting juvenile Savaglee will head to Trentham next month to tackle the Gr.1 Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m), the first bonus race for next year’s inaugural $3.5 million The NZB Kiwi (1500m).

“Savaglee seems to be much better left-handed, he is unbeaten left-handed,” Williams said.

“He has bounced through Auckland. Both of his runs there have been slightly below par. He will go onto the Sires’ at Trentham and we think he is crying out for 1400m.

“He has given us every indication that he is a horse that wants to go there and will go better over the extra 200m.

“He seems to be getting better and better throughout his two-year-old year.”

-Loveracing.nz News Desk, Joshua Smith


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