New stable acquisition Astoria can give leading trainer Tom Button his first win in the $150,000 Woollam Constructions Rockhampton Cup (1600m) at Rockhampton on Saturday.
Astoria was transferred to Button’s leading Rockhampton stable from Beaudesert trainer Diane Murphy after running second to Man Booker in the Listed $175,000 City Of Ipswich Eye Liner Stakes (1350m) at Ipswich on June 15.
“I’ve only had Astoria for a couple of weeks but he’s a lovely big horse,” Button told Racing Queensland News Desk.
Astoria started his career carrying the royal blue colours of Godolphin when trained by James Cummings and showed plenty of staying potential during his three year old season with a third in the Group 1 $1.5m Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington during the 2017 Melbourne Spring Carnival.
The Medaglio D’Oro gelding returned in the following Autumn to record three placings at Group 2 level but failed to find any solid form after that before arriving at Murphy’s Beaudesert stables.
Button has had limited opportunities to win the Rockhampton Cup but the three times Rockhampton Trainer’s Premiership winner is hoping for a good result this year.
“I’ve only had two tries at it the last two years with Deconstructed and I would really like to win it,” Button said.
Rocky’s leading rider Justin Stanley has retained the mount on Astoria who has drawn barrier eight in the sixteen horse Rockhampton Cup field and is marked at $7 with Ladbrokes.com.au.
Ipswich Cup winner Bergerac heads the market order at $3.70 and will jump from gate eleven with Michael Murphy in the saddle again.
The Tony Gollan trained Silvera is also well in contention in the betting at $5.50 and is coming off a last start second in a 1666m BenchMark 80 Handicap on Ipswich Cup Day.
Silvera has drawn nicely at barrier three with Brad Stewart taking over the reins from apprentice Baylee Nothdurft.