Connections have announced that talented colt Atlante has joined the Team Hawkes stable and will race exclusively in Australia during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival.
Atlante was previously prepared by Murray Baker and under the care of the leading New Zealand trainer he won the Group 1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600n) before heading to Australia for a 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival campaign.
The son of Fastnet Rock made his Australian racing debut with a narrow second behind Dissident in the Group 2 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 1 and was far from disgraced when sixth in the Group 1 Royal Randwick Guineas (1600m) on March 15, but failed to handle wet tracks in both the Group 2 Nathan Berry Tulloch Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill Gardens on April 5 and the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on April 26.
Bruce Perry, the Bloodstock agent for owner Lib Petagna, told that New Zealand Racing Desk that Atlante would join the Hawkes stable once he returned from a stint in the spelling paddock and paid tribute to the work that Baker had done with the three-year-old.
“He’s spelling at Wild Oaks near Hawkesbury and he’s now under the guidance of the Hawkes operation,” Perry said.
“He will target the good spring mile races and it’s too difficult to get him back here and then get him ready because he needs good ground.
“The Hawkes’ have got good Sydney and Melbourne operations and that gives the horse options on decent tracks and we’ll leave it up to them, they’re the experts.
“Murray did an amazing job with the horse to get a Group One and a Group Two placing in Sydney.
“It was really an impossible task over there given the wet tracks; he hadn’t raced since November and he struck a wet track (in the Hobartville Stakes) so he put in a huge performance when he was beaten by Dissident and in hindsight that probably took the edge off him and he was on the back foot after that.”
Perry did not reveal the exact targets for Atlante during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival, but the three-year-old is expected to be set for races like the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m), Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1400m) and Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) in Melbourne or the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) and Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) in Sydney.