The John O’Shea trained Astern has been installed the odds on favourite for the Group 2 $250,000 UVEX Silver Slipper Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill on Saturday.
Astern in the winner of his only race start in a 1000m two year old Plate at Randwick on December 5 and is set to return to the races in great order after cruising to a 2 lengths win in a 800m Warwick Farm barrier trial on February 8.
And another bold showing from the Medaglia D’Oro colt will see him reinforce his spot near the top of the market order for the Group 1 $3.5m Longines Golden Slipper Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill on March 19.
Astern is currently listed as the $1.65 favourite for the Silver Slipper Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au and is on the third line of betting for the Golden Slipper Stakes at $11 behind Magic Millions winner Capitalist at $3.80 and Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes favourite Extreme Choice at $8.
O’Shea has been very happy with the progress of Astern since he has been back in work and Godolphin’s Australian trainer expects the colt to race well first up.
“We’ve been very happy with him all the way through,” O’Shea said.
“He won very well at his only start and everything he’s done suggests he’s taken the next step.”
Sydney’s leading jockey Hugh Bowman has stepped up to ride Astern in the Sliver Slipper Stakes, deputising for stable rider James McDonald who elected to travel to Melbourne to partner the stable’s glamour three year old Exosphere in the Group 1 $750,000 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington.
Bowman travelled to Godolphin’s Osborne Park training complex on Tuesday to get a feel for the colt and was impressed with the way he handled himself.
“He’s forward enough to win this weekend, but it’s only natural that John (O’Shea) would have him ready to improve with the run,” Bowman said.
“He’s a very strong colt, physically very forward and mature. He gave me a good feel like a good horse does.”
Astern will be up against several other Golden Slipper Stakes contenders on Saturday, including Defcon from the Peter And Paul Snowden stable.
Defcon is the second pick in the betting at $3.40 and has recovered from a slight setback that saw him scratched from the Group 3 $200,000 Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Prelude (C&G) (1100m) at Caulfield last Saturday.
Defcon made his debut in the Group 3 $150,000 Canonbury Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill on January 30 and after hitting the front at the 100m, tired slightly to finish second to Astern’s stablemate Tessera.
Peter Snowden is looking forward to another bold showing from Defcon and said that he has completely recovered from the virus that keep him at home last weekend.
“All is in order, I trialled him to be sure of that and he’s come through the trial nicely so looking forward to Saturday,” Peter Snowden told Racenet.
“I’m really happy with how he’s going.
“Physically and mentally he’s as close as I’m going to get him. He should present in good order on Saturday.”
Silver Slipper Stakes market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $1.65 Astern, $3.40 Defcon, $8 Mount Panorama, $11 King Of War, $26 Rather Sweet. $31 Pittsburgh, $91 Rafha’s Choice.