Brave Pins gelding Antonio Lombardo saves the day

Peter and Jacob McKay’s stable experienced contrasting fortunes at Hastings after star performer Puccini’s unplaced showing was followed by a courageous winning effort from Pins gelding Antonio Lombardo.

The Matamata trainers were at an immediate loss to explain Puccini’s unplaced effort in Saturday’s Gr.1 Livamol Spring Classic that has cooled their Australian hopes for the four-year-old.

“He was very, very disappointing,” Jacob McKay said. “He had a big blow afterwards so we’ll take him home and see what happens.”

However, the smile was back on McKay’s face after a sterling effort from Antonio Lombardo to land the Gr.3 Linwood Park Stud Spring Sprint.

“That’s the Antonio Lombardo of old,” he said. “He showed that today with his topweight and there was no stopping him.”

With 59kg on his back, the six-year-old sat on the leader Shandream’s quarters to the turn and they traded blows down the straight before Antonio Lombardo, who gave the runner-up three and a-half kilos, got the upper hand for rider Sam Collett.

“Sam rode him a treat and we’re over the moon,” McKay said.
Collett has now partnered the 10-race winner Antonio Lombardo four times for three victories.

“It was a top effort from this horse,” she said. “I had to use him early to sit outside the leader and he never stopped fighting.”

Fix finished two lengths adrift in third and looked to have every chance while Atozed was fourth in front of Kelly O’Reilly. Kisses did particularly well to run sixth after losing five lengths at the start. – NZ Racing Desk.

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