Woodbine Mile international scouting report: Stormy Antarctic
A Group performer for all four seasons of racing, Stormy Antarctic has a newfound consistency since he was gelded last summer. The question is whether he can break through at the top level or continue to find one too good for him.
Stormy Antarctic is by Stormy Atlantic, sire of several Canadian champions including Up with the Birds, as well as reigning Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) victor Stormy Liberal and multiple Grade 1-winning turfiste Get Stormy. Out of the Group 3-placed Bea Remembered, Stormy Antarctic is a half-brother to multiple Group 2-placed Al Johrah, best known for finishing best of the rest behind Lady Aurelia in the 2016 Queen Mary (G2) at Royal Ascot.
A £200,000 Tattersalls Craven Breeze-Up graduate, Stormy Antarctic is trained by Ed Walker, whose rare transatlantic forays are often worthwhile. His Mutatis Mutandis was third in the 2015 Flower Bowl (G1) at 14-1, and most recently Indian Blessing, like Stormy Antarctic owned by P.K. Siu, filled the same spot in the August 25 Ballston Spa (G2) at 18-1.
Stormy Antarctic showed his quality during a productive juvenile campaign highlighted by a near-miss in the 2015 Criterium International (G1). Aidan O’Brien’s Johannes Vermeer narrowly held him off on the very soft ground that’s long been his forte.
In his three-year-old bow, Stormy Antarctic romped in a soft-ground Craven (G3) at Newmarket (click link for replay). That effort propelled him into the second betting choice in the 2000 Guineas (G1), but he wound up 11th behind Galileo Gold, with a pulled shoulder muscle diagnosed as the reason.
Stormy Antarctic rebounded when runner-up in a course-record Prix Jean Prat (G1) to Zelzal (the traffic-compromised sixth in last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Mile [G1]).
His form declined thereafter. After a frustrating first half of 2017, when the best he could muster was a pair of close seconds in listed company and a third in the Minstrel (G2), Stormy Antarctic was gelded last August.
The decision proved correct straightaway. In his first start as a gelding, he romped by four lengths in the Prix du Ranelagh at Chantilly in October.
Walker offered the following postrace comments to Racing Post:
Stormy Antarctic was sixth next time in the Hyde at Kempton, but through no fault of his own. Buried on the inside and snatched up, he had no room to rally until it was too late. The commentator himself observed that he was “a little bit unlucky,” and he was put away for the winter.
The soul of dependability in all his starts this year, Stormy Antarctic nicked the April 2 Prix Edmond Blanc (G3) under a clever Christophe Soumillon ride. Watch how he puts him on the lead on the heavy going at Saint Cloud, angles to the extreme outside on the turn, and stays solo on the stands’ side.
Back in Britain for the Sandown Mile (G2), Stormy Antarctic was no match for the ascendant Addeybb (who’d previously beaten Woodbine Mile rival Lord Glitters). But he still bested Aljazzi, the subsequent winner of Royal Ascot’s Duke of Cambridge (G2).
Stormy Antarctic then went on his travels to Germany, capturing the May 31 Badener Meile (G2) over comebacker Va Bank. The pride of Poland, Va Bank was in the mix for the Arlington Million (G1) for a while.
In his next raid on the Continent July 29, Stormy Antarctic tried 1 1/4 miles for the first time in the Grosser Dallmayr Preis – Bayerisches Zuchtrennen (G1) and saw out the trip well. The only problem was he ran into Godolphin’s Benbatl, the class of the field who bossed them on the front end. Now Benbatl is bound for Australia’s prestigious Cox Plate (G1), and an attempt to dethrone three-time champion Winx.
Stormy Antarctic reverted in trip for the Celebration Mile (G2) at Goodwood last out. Looming in the stretch, he was ultimately outkicked by Beat the Bank (yet another who’s crossed swords with Lord Glitters) and high-class South African import Whisky Baron.
Beat The Bank (4g,Paco Boy - Tiana ) wins gr2 Celebration Mile at Goodwood— MG (@WorldRacing007) August 25, 2018
2nd Whisky Baron (AUS)
3rd Stormy Antarctic (GB) pic.twitter.com/KEivczlpYT
Like Lord Glitters, Stormy Antarctic must overcame a travel delay that marooned them in Amsterdam for much of the week. They just jetted into Woodbine Thursday evening, making for a quick turnaround to raceday. At least he’s a frequent flyer, even going so far as Hong Kong for the 2017 Champions Mile (G1) (where he was fifth).
Also like Lord Glitters, Stormy Antarctic relishes rain-softened going, but has been effective in quicker conditions. Perhaps the key difference between the two is that Lord Glitters has competed in the British summer’s marquee mile events.
Photo courtesy Ed Walker via Twitter