Golden Rose winner Astern had a quiet trial at Warwick Farm this morning in the lead up to his return to the race track for an Autumn Carnival campaign.
Astern claimed a Group 1 win at his second run during the 2016 Sydney Spring Carnival when he floored his opponents in the $1m De Bortoli Wines Golden Rose (1400m) at Rosehill on September 10.
The Medaglio D’Oro colt then ran second to Russian Revolution in the Group 2 $300,000 The Star Roman Consul (1200m) at Randwick on October 1 before running second to Victorian colt Flying Artie in the Group 1 $500,000 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) down the Flemington straight on October 29.
Trainer John O’Shea then sent Astern for a spell and English jockey James Doyle said that the star colt has returned in great order and felt terrific when he was unextended to run sixth behind the Chris Waller trained Sezanne in a 1000m trial this morning.
“I trialled him this morning, very pleased with him. He relaxed beautifully, travelled through the trial very well. Quickened nice towards the end and hit the line quite well,” Doyle said.
“He is nice and relaxed and moving great. I am really pleased with him.”
Managing Director of Godolphin Australia Henry Plumtre said that Astern would more than likely be aimed at the major sprints throughout the Autumn as he chases another Group 1 trophy.
The Group 1 $750,000 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) on February 18 and the Group 1 $1.25m Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) on March 11, both at Flemington, are his likely Melbourne targets before heading back to Sydney for the Group 1 $2.5m Darley T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on April 1, the first day of “the Championships’.
“He spelled only for a short period of time and he looks terrific, but very big,” Plumtre said.
“If John (O’Shea) wants to go sprinting with him and that’s what the boss wants to do, if they look at the schedule and might decide that Lightning, Newmarket and TJ is the way to go with him.
“Most people have him pegged as a high-class sprinter, so he’ll probably go that way.”
In early betting for the T J Smith Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au, Astern is marked at $7 alongside of Darley Classic runner up Spieth while the Team Hawkes trained Chautauqua heads the market order at $5.
Trainer Mick Price’s two smart three year olds are next in the betting with Flying Artie at $9 and Extreme Choice at $10.
Early market order for the T J Smith Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au: $5 Chautauqua, $7 Astern, Spieth, $9 Flying Artie, $10 Extreme Choice, $12 Star Turn, $13 Black Heart Bart, $14 English, $15 Malaguerra, $16 Russian Revolution, $17 Terravista, Music Magnate $21 Counterattack, Japonisme, Lucky Hussler, Southern Legend, Takedown, $26 or better the rest.