Connections of the US-bred import ANTILLES (War Front-Wonder Of Wonders) have had to put a 4kg claimer on this afternoon at Canberra because he was allotted 65kg.
And, in the Open grade Federal, that’s an awful lot. Made more surprising when you consider Antilles is only a Class 1 horse!
Clearly the 5YO has been weighted on potential – which is always arbitrary and unfair.
Canberra trainer Matty Dale prepares the horse nowadays whose only win to date was at Naas in Ireland when trained by Aiden O’Brien.
That was in a maiden over 1408m where he fell in to win. The race was back in November of 2018 and the level of Naas is similar to say Kembla in NSW.
So how does he get 65kg in an Open handicap at Canberra two years later?
Well, six months after his maiden win he was a great 4th over 2012m at Ireland’s premier track, The Curragh in a Gr 3 race behind horses we know – Constantinople and Buckhurst. He was only beaten 5 lengths that day at level weights.
Then after a couple of unplaced runs in open staying races, he was on pace and ran a terrific 3rd at Gr 3 level in the 2149m Diamond Stakes at Dundalk, beaten narrowly by a horse also now in Australia named Blenheim Palace.
Since joining the Dale stable earlier this year, he has had two trials, the latest over 900m when he flashed home to grab 3rd, a nostril clear of his rival today, ANIMALIA (Animal Kingdom-Hold To Ransom).
Bookies don’t rate Antilles today, however, posting him a $35 chance with Animalia at $13. The fav for the race is SCALEO (Helmet-Pillow Talk) who was runner-up last start in an Open Federal like this race is today, behind rival again, BALONNE (Casino Prince-Muppets).
Scaleo is $3.50 with Palmerbet while Balonne is $8.
Young Jess Del Frari with her 4kg claim, has been given the job of getting Antilles around this afternoon. She has ridden just two winners in her entire career.
Hmmm, that’s one more than the horse has.
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