Kiwi Raider Antrim Coast wins Gr 2 Alister Clark Stakes

New Zealand’s Group One three-year-old form was to the fore at Moonee Valley on Saturday, where Antrim Coast edged out Quintessa in a thrilling finish to the A$500,000 Gr.2 DCE Alister Clark Stakes (2040m).

Te Akau Racing’s Quintessa went into the race as a $4 favourite. She had previously shown her star quality on home soil, winning the Gr.1 Levin Classic (1600m) at Trentham in January, then finished an eye-catching fourth in this month’s Gr.1 Australian Guineas (1600m) in her first appearance across the Tasman.

In contrast, Antrim Coast was an overlooked outsider at $41 for Saturday’s Alister Clark. The son of Roc De Cambes arrived in Melbourne as a last-start second placegetter in the Gr.1 New Zealand Derby (2400m), defying triple-digit odds to finish just under four lengths behind the freakish filly Orchestral.

With Orchestral about to make her eagerly anticipated Australian debut in next week’s Gr.1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) in Sydney, Antrim Coast put her form in even brighter lights with his outstanding Alister Clark performance.

Quintessa was given a dream run by Opie Bosson, sitting in fourth before sailing through a gap along the rails at the turn. She quickened smartly and opened up what looked like a winning advantage, but then along came Antrim Coast.

After settling in the back half of the field, Mick Dee got him up and rolling 800m from the finish. He came four-wide around the turn, balanced up and lengthened stride. He slowly but surely drew up alongside Quintessa, fighting a head-bobbing battle with her through the final 100m and snatching victory by a nose.

“It was a very good run in the New Zealand Derby last start, and a great training effort by Stephen Marsh to drop back to 2000m around Moonee Valley today,” Dee said. “I dare say he didn’t get around Moonee Valley all that well. He didn’t corner that well and was tending to lay outwards around the turns.

“I had to go quite early. To be honest, I thought we got beaten on the line, but it was a super effort.”

Racing in the colours of owner-breeder Dick Karreman’s The Oaks Stud, Antrim Coast has now had 12 starts for three wins, four placings and more than A$520,000 in stakes.

“He couldn’t have come over any better,” said Dean Williams, whose father Rick is The Oaks Stud’s general manager.

“I had a good chat to Stephen Marsh before he came over. They’d given him a week in the paddock after the Derby and he’d freshened up nicely. Stephen was very happy with his work on Tuesday morning, and then he travelled over on Wednesday and hasn’t turned a hair since he arrived.

“We couldn’t have wished for a better ride today from a sticky gate (nine). He got him out early and let him roll into the race. It was a perfect ride and a tough effort from the horse.

“Adelaide might be his best option from here. Sydney is looking pretty strong, and we want to avoid running into Orchestral again. I don’t think the Aussies will know what hit them when she turns up.”

Antrim Coast became the sixth individual stakes winner for Roc De Cambes, who stands at The Oaks Stud for a service fee of just $3,000.

The dam of Antrim Coast is the winning Sakhee’s Secret mare Coasting, whose half-sister Espresso Martini won at Listed level.

Antrim Coast’s second dam Keepa Cruisin won the Gr.1 Levin Classic (1600m) and is a half-sister to the seven-time Group One winner Seachange. This family has enjoyed an outstanding couple of months, producing not only Antrim Coast but also freakish Australian two-year-old Storm Boy who placed third in the Gr.1 Golden Slipper (1200m) and the Listed-winning three-year-old filly Drakaina.

While Coasting unfortunately died earlier this season, she has a two-year-old colt by Ace High and a yearling filly by Eminent. – NZ Racing Desk.


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