Trainer Murray Baker has revealed that classy colt Atlante will join stablemate It’s A Dundeel in Australia for the 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
Atlante made his racing debut with a third place finish behind El Roca in a maiden at Taupo and failed to fire on a wet track at Hastings in his second race start before recording the maiden race win of his career at Avondale on October 7.
The three-year-old stamped himself as a colt to watch with a dominant three lengths victory in the Listed Canterbury Stakes (1600m) at Riccarton Park and finished his campaign with a win in the Group 1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m).
Baker told Racing Ahead that Atlante had shown a great deal of talent in his racing career to date and is confident that he can be competitive at the highest level of racing in Australia if he can take advantage of his ability.
“He is a Fastnet Rock colt and he won the 2000 Guineas at Riccarton,” Baker said.
“He has won his last three, he has only had five starts, and I think if we can get him to run straight he will be a very competitive horse.
“He has loads of ability but he has run greenly in his career so far.
“If he can put it together he will be a chance.”
Baker said that Atlante was originally set to come to Australia for the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival but the constant wet weather that was present in New Zealand this spring ended those plans.
The veteran trainer is unsure exactly which races he will target with Atlante but is confident that the Fastnet Rock colt has the scope to run out a strong 2000 metres and potentially contest the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas – a race Baker won with It’s A Dundeel last year.
“He was nominated for the Caulfield Guineas but he got hampered by wet tracks and he just never got going,” Baker said.
“As you know our spring can get pretty wet here and we ran him once on a wet track and he finished tailed off; he just couldn’t go at all.
“Once the weather picked up he clicked.
“He is a big strong horse and he races right there but a couple of times he has let horses head him turning for home and then had to run them down.
“We are hoping that he gets 2000 metres because with the prizemoney available in Australia that is as far as you need to go.
“He does look like he will get past a mile.”
If Baker can win the Rosehill Guineas with Atlante he will be the first trainer in the last thirty years to win the Group 1 event in back-to-back years.