The Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes-trained stallion Atlante has set himself up for a stellar spring campaign following an impressive first-up win at Moonee Valley in the Drummond Golf Stakes 2014.
Ridden to perfection by a patient Dwayne Dunn the son of Fastnet Rock caught the eye in his four-year-old debut winning over 1200m when resuming for the first time after being put just off the speed for a nice soft run.
Atlante hadn’t raced since a dead last when eighth, six and a half lengths off Japanese mare Hana’s Goal in the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Randwick in late April.
On the back of a winning Warwick Farm trial he jumped an $8.50 chance for the $120,000 Listed Drummond Golf Stakes (1200m) through Ladbrokes.com.au and proved an excellent value bet.
The pace was set by the Peter Moody-trained Spirits Dance, also first-up, who led throughout with Michael Kent’s consistent track specialist Solsay trailing closely after being first out of the gates.
Atlante meanwhile was positioned in fourth ready to strike over the closing stages.
In a close finish the classy winner was able to just edge out the gutsy runner-up, beaten $4 favourite Trust In A Gust who did lots of work from an outside barrier forced to race four wide, while Lucky Hussler snared third for Darren Weir after a storming finish.
“He did everything right the horse,” co-trainer Wayne Hawkes said post-race.
A Group 1 winner back home in his native New Zealand having won the NZ 2000 Guineas over the Riccarton Park mile back in November last year, the goal for them this prep with Team Hawkes was to win some black-type in Australia.
“We didn’t really know to be honest,” Hawkes said when speaking about where they thought the horse would go after this first-up run.
“He’s really well and looks great and the best part was as soon as the blinkers went on (today) he really focused.”
Having done that now Atlante will be stepped up in class again and given the chance to atone for his unplaced Group 1 runs during the autumn.
Along with the All Aged he was also test in elite company as a three-year-old when sixth behind Dissident in the Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m), the winner of which trumped that form with a win in last weekend’s Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m).
While the Hawkes are yet to map out an official spring path, they will use today’s effort as a guide with the Group 1 mile races looking right up this horse’s alley.
“Today will tell us,” Hawkes said.
“It’s a good position to be in.”
The first of those possible targets up over 1400m could be on September 28 then at Caulfield Racecourse in the $400,000 Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes.
Atlante is also nominated for Sydney’s $500,000 Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Royal Randwick on October 4 and the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) back at Moonee Valley in Melbourne on October 25.
To back all of the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes Day and Chelmsford Stakes Day winners from this weekend including Atlante in their next runs and in the spring Group 1s head over to Ladbrokes.com.au!
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2014 Drummond Golf Stakes Results & Finishing Order
Moonee Valley Race 9 – 06/09/2014
|1||3||ATLANTE||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Dwayne Dunn||–||2||57kg||$8.50|
|2||13||TRUST IN A GUST||Darren Weir||Damian Lane||0.1L||12||54.5kg||$4F|
|3||6||LUCKY HUSSLER||Darren Weir||Ben Melham||0.5L||9||55.5kg||$11|
|4||11||SOLSAY||Michael Kent||Tommy Berry||1.5L||5||54.5kg||$5.50|
|5||9||LION OF BELFORT||Mick Price||Nicholas Hall||2.25L||6||54.5kg||$9|
|6||1||LE BONSIR||Mick Price||Dean Yendall||3.25L||7||58kg||$8.50|
|7||12||SPIRITS DANCE||Peter G Moody||Ms Linda Meech||3.45L||3||54.5kg||$9.50|
|8||15e||MEMBERS JOY||Robert Smerdon||Craig Williams||4.2L||13||54.5kg||$20|
|9||5||CLUB COMMAND||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||4.3L||8||56kg||$14|
|10||8||GOLDEN PENNY||Lee & Shannon Hope||Ms Michelle Payne||4.4L||4||54.5kg||$31|
|11||18e||DANISH WHISKEY||Michael Kent||Ms Jackie Beriman (a)||5.9L||10||54.5kg||$101|
|12||16e||BLOOMINGDALE MISS||Robert Smerdon||Craig Newitt||6.1L||1||54.5kg||$21|
|13||7||ELECTRIC FUSION||Robert Smerdon||Mark Zahra||6.2L||11||54.5kg (cd 55kg)||$61|
|–||4||KENCELLA||Chris Waller||Craig Newitt||–||0||–||–|
|–||17e||BIG BUDDIE||Andrew Sawden||Ms Jackie Beriman (a)||–||0||–||–|
|–||2||ZAMORAR||David Bourne||Ms Katelyn Mallyon (a)||–||0||–||–|
|–||14||YOU’RE SO GOOD (NZ)||Nigel Blackiston||James Winks||–||0||–||–|
|–||10||SEA LORD||Stephen Brown||Stephen Baster||–||0||–||–|