Jockey Jim Cassidy is certain Ashokan is up to Golden Slipper class after winning the Group 3 $125,000 Hyland Race Colours Skyline Stakes (1200m) at Randwick today.
Ashokan with the blinkers on for the first time jumped well and raced outside of Lord Duveen in the early stages before kicking away and holding off the late finish of Raceway and the well backed Collect.
“The main thing was to make him begin, the first time with the blinkers on. He just went from cheese to chalk today, he really switched on,” Cassidy said .
“He went a little hard and I was a little bit worried coming to the 600m that we had done too much work. But one of John’s is always a plus, I knew he was fit, he’s had some good gallops and he’s improved a lot since his first up run.”
Odds on favourite Raceway was slow to begin and Hugh Bowman settled the Gai Waterhouse trained youngster just worst than midfield and after having a bumping duel on the corner ran home strongly for second.
Raceway won’t be able to give a start in the Golden Slipper and Waterhouse will have to work on his barrier manners.
Winning trainer John O’Shea wasn’t surprised Ashokan raced a bit keenly with the blinkers on and expected the More Than Ready colt to keep improving in the run up to Golden Slipper.
“He’s still learning and that’s going to be an issue going into the Slipper,” O’Shea said.
O’Shea scratched his other two year old Shelford when the track was downgraded to a slow 7, but was happy he pulled the right rein with Ashokan handling the conditions well.
O’Shea agrees with Cassidy and thinks that Ashokan will be very competitive in the Group 1 $3.5m AAMI Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill on April 7.
“We were always confident he would be effective in the ground so it was one of the reasons we scratched the other bloke and bought this bloke here today.”