Trainer David Vandyke has revealed that Astronomos will be set for the 2015 The Metropolitan if he is able to win the TAB.com.au Handicap at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Astronomos made his Australian racing debut with a fourth place finish in Canberra on October 24, but he was able to record his maiden race win at Newcastle in November and he was sent to the spelling paddock following wins at Goulburn and Rosehill Gardens in December.
Vandyke resisted the urge to run Astronomos during the 2015 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival, but he made his return to racing with a credible fourth in the Kiama Handicap (1400m) at Kembla Grange on June 16 before he returned to winning form in the Tab.Com.Au Handicap (1600m) at Warwick Farm on July 1.
The Warwick Farm-based trainer is confident that Astronomos will be able to get over a staying trip during his 2015 Spring Racing Carnival campaign and he said the New Approach entire will be entered for both the Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) and the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) if he is able to win this weekend.
“He came here from England and we’ve given him time to settle and acclimatise to our way of training and racing,” Vandyke told AAP.
“We always felt that this coming spring would be when he would start to shine.
“I’d like to think he can get two miles – it would be nice to win a Melbourne Cup with him, but we’ll take one step at a time.
“If he wins on Saturday we’ll freshen him up and look towards a race like the Metropolitan.”
Astronomos will be stepping up to 2000 metres for the first time in the TAB.com.au Handicap and he will take on 12 rivals in the $85,000 event this weekend.
The promising stayer is currently available at 2015 TAB.com.au Handicap odds of $3.20 with Ladbrokes and is a narrow favourite from the consistent It’s About You ($4.40), Chris Waller-trained Georgey Aeroplane ($6.50), last start winner Frank Who ($9), imported galloper Zayam ($10) and the consistent Loophole ($10).
Vandyke is chasing his first win in The Metropolitan after finishing third behind The Verminator and Hawk Island with talented stayer Lamasery in 2011 and missing the placings with pre-race favourite Prince Cheri in 2013 and Lamasery in 2012.