Trainer John O’Shea has confirmed that leading Golden Slipper contender Astern will return to the races in the 2016 Silver Slipper Stakes at Rosehill Gardens on February 20.
Astern made his first public appearance with a comfortable victory in a barrier trial over 900 metres at Rosehill Gardens on November 24 and he made his racing debut with an impressive win over Niccolance in the Surf Meets Turf Plate (1000m) at Royal Randwick on December 5.
The Medaglia D’Oro colt was sent to the paddock following his debut win, but he is now back in work and he impressed O’Shea with his performance in a jump out this morning.
O’Shea told Sky Racing HQ Astern will start his 2016 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival campaign in the Group 2 Silver Slipper Stakes (1200m) before he presses on to the Group 2 Todman Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on March 5 and the Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 19.
“He had a burn around through the gates and he was very fresh,” O’Shea said.
“He had a lovely morning, Grant Buckley came and rode him and he just blew out a few cobwebs.
“He has just grown a bit and lengthened.
“He is going the right way and we are really happy with him.
“He will run in the Silver Slipper and then he will run in the Todman.”
Another Godolphin juvenile that had a jump out this morning was Calliope, who has not been seen at the races since she made her racing debut with a fast-finishing victory in the Listed Gimcrack Stakes (1000m) at Royal Randwick on October 3.
O’Shea was not happy that jockey Craig Williams was unable to find cover on Calliope in the jump out, but he said that the daughter of Exceed And Excel will still likely return to the races in the Group 2 Blue Diamond Prelude (1100m) at Caulfield on February 13.
“We would have loved to get a little bit of cover with her, it didn’t transpire like that,” O’Shea said.
“Craig just sat on her and gave her an easy morning, but to be fair she probably didn’t learn a lot.
“She will go off to the Prelude in a fortnight, but we are happy enough with her.”
Astern is currently available at 2016 Golden Slipper odds of $9 with Ladbrokes, while Calliope is priced at $13.