Kiwi Group 1 winner Atlante is set to take on rival New Zealand three year old El Roca in the Group 2 $200,000 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill on Saturday.
Atlante had his first public showing in Australia with a second to Howmuchdoyouloveme in a 1030m Rosehill barrier trial on February 14 as Cambridge trainer Murray Baker prepares the three year old for his first run since winning the Group 1 NZ$400,000 Sothy’s 41st New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton Park on November 9.
Baker has a high opinion of Atlante and is looking to bigger purses later in the Sydney Autumn Carnival and has nominated the colt for the Group 1 $3m The Star Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick on April 12.
And Baker may test him over the 2000m of the Group 1 $500,000 Rosehill Guineas at Rosehill on March 29 or the Group 1 $4m Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick on April 19 if his form warrants it.
“I will certainly look at it (the Doncaster Mile) and he will certainly be nominated,” Baker said
“He does race like a horse that might get 2000 metres and we are hoping he will because that opens up the Rosehill Guineas and a couple of other good races.”
“He is a promising horse and we like the look of him, so we are going to have a crack in Sydney.
“He spelled well in Cambridge for about six weeks after the 2000 Guineas and he looks good.”
The Fastnet Rock colt will be taking on fellow New Zealand colt El Roca as well as the highly performed Aussie three year olds Dissident, Romantic Touch, Savvy Nature and Woodbine.
Atlante has drawn barrier three in the eleven horse field for his Australian debut with Glyn Schofield to ride while El Roca wasn’t treated well at the barrier draw coming up gate ten with Hugh Bowman in the saddle again.
The Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young trained El Roca was very impressive in recording a two lengths win over Dissident and Romantic Touch in the Listed $125,000 Eskimo Prince Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill on February 15 and will be one of the main chances again.
Busuttin was relieved to see El Roca win on Australian soil after the Fastnet Rock colt was beaten into fifth place behind Long John in the Group 1 $1m BECK Caulfield Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield in the Spring.
“I know how good he is but you like to see them do it especially over here,” Busuttin said.
“He didn’t get his chance in the Caulfield Guineas and I admit I sulked for a bit.
“I would like to think he can get over a distance. His pedigree says a mile pulls him up so we’ll see.
“It’s all about getting a Group One with him.”
The Peter Moody trained Dissident with Jim Cassidy draw just worst than midfield at six alongside of Gai Waterhouse’s two year old Group 1 winner Romantic Touch who drew five with Tommy Berry to ride.
Waterhouse will also be represented by the up and coming Woodbine how has won his last two starts in restricted class with Nash Rawiller to jump from gate eight while Liberty’s Choice will have Tim Clark aboard from barrier two.