Trainer John O’Shea has revealed the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) will figure as the major goal for Astern, when the exciting colt returns to competition during the forthcoming Spring Racing Carnival.
Astern was a standout amongst the talent-rich Godolphin two-year-olds through the recent Sydney Autumn Carnival, and has not been seen at the races since running a dead heat with the Gai Waterhouse-trained El Divino in the Group 3 Kindergarten Stakes (1100m) on Day 1 of The Championships.
O’Shea has been thrilled with the benefit taken by the Medgalia D’Oro colt in his time away from racing and subsequent return to work, and told Racing Victoria he believes the horse’s clear affinity with sprint races underlines the 2016 Coolmore Stud Stakes as an ideal spring target.
“I think he is more effective at 1200m, I don’t think he is a 1400m horse,” O’Shea told Racing Victoria.
“His main aim will be the Coolmore Stud Stakes, how we get there I’m not quite sure at this stage but he is coming along nicely.”
Astern stamped himself as a colt to watch with a blistering barrier trial win at Rosehill prior to his competitive debut in November, and more than justified the attention when taking out the Surf Meets The Turf 2.y.o Plate (1000m) by close to three lengths on December 5th.
Immediately put away with a view towards the major two-year-old races of the Autumn Carnival, Astern returned to racing this year in the best way possible; savaging the line for a classy win in the Group 2 Silver Slipper Stakes (1100m).
Kept to a light campaign, Astern was again sent to the trials for an easy hit-out and win, and while considered a leading chance of success in his major target; the Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) on March 19th, failed to get into the race after a slow start and finished a forgettable eleventh.
A number of other Godolphin rising three-year-olds are only weeks away from a competitive return including Telperion, who will be set for the Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens on September 10th.