Astern led from start to finish to record a narrow victory in the 2016 Silver Slipper Stakes at Rosehill Gardens this afternoon.
Jockey Hugh Bowman elected to take Astern straight to the front in the Silver Slipper Stakes and he travelled comfortably, but looked like a sitting duck when Defcon and Mount Panorama loomed on the outside.
Astern was able to fight back bravely and he held-off his rivals to deliver punters who took the short quote on offer for the son of Medaglia D’Oro.
John O’Shea was pleased to see Astern hang on in the Silver Slipper Stakes and he believes that the two-year-old will be even better if he is able to take a sit in races like the Group 2 Todman Stakes (1200m) and Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m).
“You could see that he had his ears pricked and he is still learning and looking,” Bowman said.
“Hughie had plenty up the sleeve.
“It would be nice if we could get something to follow one day, but at the moment he is getting the job done and he is in the race now.
“We will go to the Todman in a couple of weeks, hope he has a nice day there and does everything right and see what it brings after there.
“He is a quality colt.”
Bowman was given the chance to ride Astern in the Silver Slipper Stakes after James McDonald elected to head to Melbourne to ride Exosphere in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington and he was quick to label the juvenile as a 2016 Golden Slipper contender.
The leading hoop said that he was most impressed with the way that Astern fought back when he was challenged and he believes that the colt still had a bit left in the tank.
“I think that he is a readymade Slipper horse,” Bowman said.
“He put the writing on the wall with his very first start.
“To come here on race day, ask him to stretch and feel the response that he gave me was pretty impressive.
“It is an honour to fill in for James when he is in Melbourne and I am happy to do it whenever I can.
“He was fresh, he got into stride and I wanted to back him off when I sustained the lead, but he wasn’t going to have any of that.
“He wasn’t being fierce, but he wanted to gallop.
“I knew I had a bit left in the tank, but I loved his response when he was challenged and I can only see him improving on today.”
Defcon was caught wide throughout and he produced another quality effort to finish second, while Mount Panorama loomed as the winner before dying on his run late.