Kingsford Smith Cup the toughest test of Antino’s career

Tony Gollan knows this Saturday’s Kingsford Smith Cup will be the toughest test of Antino’s career, but he is confident the five-year-old can be a factor in the $1 million event.

Queensland’s leading trainer has described the 1300-metre event, one of two Group 1 races at Eagle Farm this Saturday, as the race of the Winter Carnival.

Star sprinter I Wish I Win, dual Group 1 winner Magic Time and defending champion Think About It headline Antino’s list of potential rivals and Gollan considers a chance to stand up at the highest level for the gelding who has won 10 of his 15 starts.

“He’s still got a great winning record, but we all remember the Melbourne spring where he was just so luckless. Maybe it’s his time,” Gollan said.

“Next week will be his stiffest test. I think that’s probably going to be the race of the carnival, the Kingsford Smith in strength wise and depth.

“So he’s going to have earn his stripes to win it but he’s going to get there in good shape.”

Antino heads into the Kingsford Smith Cup off a jaw-dropping win in the Group 2 Victory Stakes (1200m) on May 4, when he was slowly away and last under pressure turning for home before powering through the line to win comfortably.

Gollan hopes the extra 100m of the Kingsford Smith Cup will see him travel more kindly in the middle stages.

“I’d love to see him tactically be able to travel better mid-race in the Kingsford Smith, which I think we should be able to out to the 1300,” Gollan said.

“I’m really happy with him, we’ve had a month between runs to keep him as fresh and as well as we can and I’m really pleased with the condition he’s in.”

Vlad Duric made the most of a call-up to guide Antino to Victory Stakes success and retains the ride in the Kingsford Smith Cup, the field for which will be finalised when barriers are drawn on Tuesday morning.

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