Winning colt emulates star galloper
EXCITING colt Antonio Lombardo emulated Matamata trainer Peter McKay’s former star galloper Alamosa when he scorched over the Hastings 1400m course to win Saturday’s $85,000 Hawke’s Bay Guineas.
Alamosa had already won the Gr I Diamond Stakes when he won the 2007 Hawke’s Bay Guineas and went on to win a further three Gr I races to set himself up for a stallion career.
Trainer Peter McKay has a similar opinion of Antonio Lombardo and said there were several similarities between the two horses.
But he is not intending to go out of his way to make a stallion out of the Pins colt.
‘‘I’ve kept warning him about taking them [his testicles] out and it seems to be working,’’ McKay said.
‘‘It was a bit of headache with Alamosa, all the time having in the back of your mind that you’re trying to turn him into a stallion.
‘‘With this horse we’ll just enjoy his racing. We’ll still go for the best races but without worrying about trying to make him into a stallion. If it happens that way, it happens.’’
Antonio Lombardo has now won two of the races Alamosa won early in his career – the Listed Wellesley Stakes and the Gr II Hawke’s Bay Guineas.
‘‘He’s probably done a bit more than Alamosa at this stage because he’s also run second in the Karaka Million and won that Gr III race [Taranaki 2yo Classic] at New Plymouth,’’ McKay said.
‘‘He came out in his early two year olds and showed he had the goods and then he was only a nose away from winning a Gr I.’’ That was when Antonio Lombardo was just denied by last season’s champion two-year-old Anabandana in the Gr I Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Awapuni.
Saturday’s win was Antonio Lombardo’s second stakes win from as many starts at three, having blitzed his rivals with a 51⁄ length win in last month’s Northland Breeders’ Stakes (1200m) at Ruakaka resuming.
‘‘They are pretty much the same,’’ McKay said when asked to compare Antonio Lombardo to Alamosa.
‘‘Alamosa had a pretty similar preparation to this too. They are pretty similar horses to try and get a line on before the race too.
‘‘Estrato [fifth in Saturday’s Guineas] had it all over him [in training] the other day but raceday he’s a different horse and Alamosa was a lot like that.
‘‘He’s kicking away now without them having to come up to him. As a two-year-old he used to wait for them. But he does like a fight.’’ Rider Sam Spratt took Antonio Lombardo to the front but not before Matamata gelding Vincent Street had made him work for the lead. That made little difference in the end as Antonio Lombardo, raced by McKay and his wife Kim in partnership with Christchurch businessman Trevor Luke, kept up a strong gallop to the line, winning by 1 lengths from Cambridge filly Prestigious Miss, with Ginner Hart claiming third, ahead of Whoshe, Estrato and Beejay Belle.
Spratt said Antonio Lombardo always had the race in control.
‘‘If another horse had come up to him, he would have gone again,’’ she said.
McKay said Antonio Lombardo would now head to Trentham for the Gr II $85,000 Wellington Guineas (1500m) on October 22, where he is eligible for a $30,000 TBS bonus should he win, before tackling the Gr I $250,000 Levin Classic (1600m) at Otaki in November.
‘‘He’s bred to get a lot further,’’ McKay said.
Prestigious Miss’ rider Jason Waddell was thrilled with his filly’s performance. ‘‘Super little filly. She’s got a good heart but she’s just run into a hell of a good horse.’’
Trainer Roger James said Prestigious Miss could go straight into the Gr I $300,000 1000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton on November 5 without another run.
Whanganui trainer Alexander Fieldes said Ginner Hart would also head to Riccarton, for the Gr I $400,000 2000 Guineas (1600m) on November 12, also without another leadup.
Peter McKay: Pictured in 2010.