Trainer John O’Shea is still giving Astern a great chance of winning the Group 1 $3.5m Longines Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill on Saturday even after drawing the outside barrier.
Astern will jump from gate sixteen in the capacity field of two year olds and after the Gai Waterhouse trained Vancouver won from the same barrier last year, O’Shea knows that it can be done.
“It’s been done before and Astern is a horse with the ability to give it a good shot again,” O’Shea said.
“The forecast is for a soft track, so who knows, it might be better to be out wide.”
Astern is rated as the best of the three Godolphin owned two year olds going around in the Golden Slipper, Telperion, barrier twelve and Calliope, barrier fifteen, also drew poorly, but the Medaglia D’Oro colt has also had an interrupted preparation.
Astern is undefeated from two race starts with wins in a 1000m Randwick two year old Plate on December 5 and in the Group 2 $250,000 UVEX Silver Slipper Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill on February 20.
But O’Shea had to scratch Astern from the Group 2 $300,000 UNSW Todman Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on March 5, his final Golden Slipper lead up race, after registering a slightly elevated white blood cell count.
Astern recovered quickly and was given a good hit out by race day jockey James McDonald in winning an 804m Warwick Farm barrier trial on March 10.
“I did a little bit on him for the sake of him having missed that run,” McDonald told AAP.
“He trialled as well as a good horse could trial. If you put the top five market horses (for the Golden Slipper) in the trial they would have all done the same.”
Assistant trainer Darren Beadman was at the Golden Slipper barrier draw on Tuesday and selected the marbles with double digits for his three runners but he was philosophical about the outcome.
“We just have to make the most of an ordinary draw,” Beadman told G1X.
But Beadman did agree with O’Shea and said that the Golden Slipper can be won from the outside barrier.
“It can be done. He’s (Astern) a horse that has good tactical speed, he is unbeaten. He is a very precocious type off colt, big strong colt, so hopefully he can get into a nice position,” Beadman said.
Beadman is expecting James McDonald to go forward from the start and look to get across into a nice trail behind the leading division in the run to the first turn.
“He does leave the gates very well so I presume he will be going forward,” Beadman said.
“He is a lovely lovely colt, I hope he can do it justice.”
Astern is currently marked at $11 in Ladbrokes.com.au’s Golden Slipper market that has the Blue Diamond Stakes winner Extreme Choice as the $3.10 favourite ahead of his stablemate Flying Artie at $5.
Golden Slipper market order: $3.10 Extreme Choice, $5 Flying Artie, $9 Capitalist, $10 Kiss And Make Up, $11 Astern, $13 Good Standing, $17 Calliope, $21 Defcon, Scarlet Rain, $26 Telperion, $31 Yankee Rose, $41 Star Turn, Honesty Prevails, $101 French Fern $151 Sweet Sherry, Moqueen, Quick Feet.