Golden Rose winner Astern has come through a second barrier trial today in great style in preparation for his return in the Autumn in the Group 1 $750,000 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington on February 18.
Godolphin’s English jockey James Doyle was aboard Astern for the second time when the Medaglia D’Oro colt finished a close third behind English and Terravista in a blanket finish in an 811m trial at Warwick Farm
“Very pleased with him. Jumped out nicely, nice and relaxed and showed a nice turn of foot in the straight,” Doyle said.
“Very pleased with him, he feels in great shape.”
Astern was asked to do a little bit extra than his first trial when he was given an easy time by Doyle to finish sixth to Sezanne over 1000m at Warwick Farm on January 23.
Astern has also been nominated for the Group 1 $1.25m Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 11.
Following his run in the Newmarket Handicap Astern will return 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’.
Early betting for the T J Smith Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au has Astern as the equal second favourite with Spieth at $7 behind the Team Hawkes trained Chautauqua at $5.
Melbourne colt Flying Artie at $9 and the Mick Price trained stablemate Extreme Choice at $10 are the next two in the market order.
Astern claimed his Group 1 trophy with a win in the $1m De Bortoli Wines Golden Rose (1400m) at Rosehill during the 2016 Sydney Spring Carnival but was then runner up at his two next starts.
Russian Revolution beat him in the Group 2 $300,000 The Star Roman Consul (1200m) at Randwick on October 1 then he found the Mick Price trained Flying Artie too slick for him when second in the Group 1 $500,000 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on October 29 before being sent for spell.
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.