Trainer John O’Shea expects last Saturday‘s Silver Slipper Stakes winner Astern to continue to improve as he heads towards the Group 1 $3.5m Longines Golden Slipper Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill on March 19.
Astern make it two wins from two race starts when he led all of the way to beat Defcon in the Group 2 $250,000 UVEX Silver Slipper Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill.
O’Shea is comparing Astern favourably with last year’s Golden Slipper Stakes winner Vancouver who is by the same sire Medaglia D’Ooro.
“Astern is a big, mature brute of a fella and testament to his sire, Medaglia D’Oro,’’ O’Shea told The Sunday Telegraph.
“Last year, Vancouver, who was also by Medaglia D’Oro, was just big and stronger than anyone else and he won the Golden Slipper.
“This colt is very similar, he is doing a nice job and still learning his trade.’’
Silver Slipper Stakes winning jockey Hugh Bowman agrees with O’Shea in that Astern can still improve on last Saturday’s win.
“I just think Astern is new, still learning. I held him up waiting for something to come knowing that he will respond and I was very pleased the way he did. My colt will definitely improve,’ Bowman said.
Bowman was also impressed with the way the $1.50 favourite responded when challenged by runner up Defcon ($4.80) at the 300m and fought right to the line to record a half a length win over the Peter and Paul Snowden trained colt.
“He is a good horse,’’ Bowman said.
“I thought I had plenty there on the line.”
“Defcon showed a great turn of foot first-up and I thought he can’t do that to me — unless he puts three on me he can’t beat me.”
Astern’s next start will be his final Golden Slipper Stakes lead up run in the Group 2 $300,000 Todman Stakes (1200m) at Randwick in a fortnight and he is likely to clash again with Defcon and Golden Slipper favourite Capitalist.
O’Shea said that he still has plenty of work to do with Astern who is still 6kg over his winning weight when he scored on debut in a 1000m Randwick two year old Plate back on December 5.
“He is about 6kg heavier than when he won first up,’’ O’Shea said.
“To be fair, he was there to be beaten today but Hugh seemed to have them covered. What is good about it is the colt has had a lovely day out because he has won without having a hard run.
“He is in the Golden Slipper now so we can go to the Todman Stakes in a couple of weeks.’’
Even though Astern looked very impressive in winning the Silver Slipper Stakes, bookmakers at Ladbrokes.com.au have kept him at $11 on the third line of betting behind Capitalist at $3.80 and Mick Price’s unbeaten colt Extreme Choice at $8 while Defcon remains at $21.
Golden Slipper Stakes market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $3.80 Capitalist, $8 Extreme Choice, $11 Astern, $13 Honesty Prevails, $15 Telperion, $17 Scarlet Rain, Weatherly, Yankee Rose, $21 Defcon, Tessera, Valliano.