The 2016 Kindergarten Stakes finished in a deadheat at Royal Randwick this afternoon, with the judge unable to split Astern and El Divino.
Astern was well-backed in the lead-up to the Kindergarten Stakes, while El Divino was on the drift and it looked as though the Godolphin-owned galloper was going to finish over the top of his rival, but El Divino fought back in the final stages of the race.
The pair hit the line at the same time and after lengthy deliberations the result was ruled a deadheat.
Astern over raced in the early stages of the race and James McDonald said after the race that he believes the Medaglia D’Oro colt would have won the race with some luck in running.
“I thought I got beaten, so I am happy with anything,” McDonald said.
“My horse did a good job, he probably should have won to be fair.”
Blake Shinn admitted after the race that Astern looked as though he was going to run away with the race at the 200 metre mark, but he was thrilled with the way that El Divino was able to fight back in what was just his second race start.
“I had the option to lob in the one-one behind Zac (Purton), but I just felt that the track is better a little bit wide and it gave me the option to stay three deep and not get put in a pocket,” Shinn said.
“Astern had me at the 200, but I loved his courage.
“He is only going to improve and they are two great colts.
“They are going to be exciting horses for the future.”
El Divino is the half-brother to star mare Winx and trainer Gai Waterhouse is confident that the son of Snitzel will develop into a Group 1 winner, while she added that she expects Winx to win the Doncaster Mile in a canter.
“He is a very, very special colt,” Waterhouse said.
“He is beautifully related, he is related to Winx who will start the short-priced favourite in the Doncaster and probably win it with her leg in the air.
“This is a Group 1 horse and a very exciting horse.”
John O’Shea elected to back Astern up in the Kindergarten Stakes rather than send him to the spelling paddock following his tough run in the Golden Slipper because he didn’t want to give him too long in the spelling paddock with just two runs under his belt this preparation.
O’Shea said that Astern did well to overcome what was a tough run in transit and he is confident that the promising colt will be even better as a three-year-old.
“He had an interrupted prep going into the Slipper and we felt that five months in the paddock going into the spring was not what he needed,” O’Shea said.
“He came here today and looked in great order.
“The run never panned out for him, but fair play to the other horse in the race.
“We are very happy with our own.
“Like most of the progeny of Medaglia D’Oro he will train on as well and I look forward to him in the spring.”