Godolphin’s Golden Rose winning colt Astern returns to racing this weekend in the Roman Consul Stakes at Randwick before a trip south to target more Group 1 glory this spring.
A winner of five of his six starts to date, the John O’Shea-trained Medaglia D’Oro three-year-old was last seen posting a runaway two and a quarter-length victory over Omei Sword in Rosehill’s Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m).
That followed his first-up win in the Group 2 Run To The Rose Stakes (1200m) and handed O’Shea with back-to-back Golden Rose victories.
Twelve months earlier stable star Exosphere (2015) completed the Run To The Rose – Golden Rose double before the son of Lonhro’s victory in the $300,000 Group 2 Roman Consul Stakes (1200m).
That is the same path the stable are taking with Astern this year after an elevated temperature that forced the team to abandon plans to target the $1 million Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) in Melbourne on October 8.
The latest all-in Caulfield Guineas odds at Ladbrokes.com.au are led by stablemate Impending ($4.40) after his smart Group 2 Stan Fox Stakes (1500m) victory over the weekend in Sydney.
Astern meanwhile races this Saturday, October 1, on Epsom Handicap Day in the Roman Consul Stakes where he will face off against the Peter & Paul Snowden-trained Golden Slipper winner Capitalist.
His performance in the sprint showdown will determine which Group 1 path in Victoria he will head down.
“He has fully recovered from his elevated temperature and has returned to normal work at Osborne Park,” O’Shea told Racing Victoria on Sunday.
“He will run in the Roman Consul on Saturday at Randwick before his Melbourne plans are confirmed.”
Last season Exosphere backed up from his Roman Consul Stakes success to run fourth to the Chris Waller-trained Japonisme, third in the Group 2 Sydney lead-up, down the Flemington straight in the $500,000 Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) as the beaten odds-on favourite.
This year’s Coolmore Stud Stakes on Victoria Derby Day, Saturday October 29, is one option for Astern on the opening day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival against his own age.
He could also be saved for a tougher test in an open-age field of star sprinters at Flemington Racecourse the following Saturday on Emirates Stakes Day in the $1 million Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m).
O’Shea is yet to saddle-up either a Coolmore Stud Stakes or Darley Classic winner.
Futures betting on the Darley Classic on November 5 are currently led by the champion Hawkes Racing-trained Chautauqua ($2.80).
The Encosta De Lago six-year-old, a winner of over $6.5 million in prize money to date, has run second in the past two editions of the race behind Terravista (2014) and Delectation (2015) respectively.
He was last seen winning the Group 1 Chairman’s Sprint (1200m) at Sha Tin in Hong Kong on May 1 and will return to racing this Friday night at Moonee Valley in star-studded edition of the $500,000 Group 1 City Jeep Moir Stakes (1000m).
The 2016 Moir Stakes nominations close at midday (AEST) today.