Imported stayer Astronomos will have his next race start in the 2015 Newcastle Gold Cup after he returned to winning form at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Astronomos beat home just a single runner in the Dooleys Handicap (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on August 15 and he was a long way off the pace in the early stages of the TAB Rewards Handicap (2000m) after he missed the start, but he showed an impressive turn-of-foot in the final stages to record an impressive victory.
Trainer David Vandyke was thrilled with the performance of Astronomos and he believes that the New Approach entire is the type of horse that knows exactly where the winning post is.
“He is a horse that just keeps improving, which is very exciting,” Vandyke said.
“It is hard to understand how the horse can throw the start away and not go early.
“Jason Collett was really hunting him up and trying to get him to participate for the first 200 and then he was spotting them a very big start midrace and yet turning into the straight he switches on, knows where the post is and gets up and wins by a head.
“It is no fluke because he did the same thing the last time he went to Randwick.
“Going on his recovery from Saturday, I think that he is a horse that keeps a little bit in reserve and he is definitely now looking for further.”
Astronomos has been included in the nominations for the Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m), the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) and Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m), but the four-year-old will have his next race start in the Group 3 Newcastle Gold Cup (2300m) on September 18.
Vandyke admits that Astronomos faces a the toughest test of his racing career to date in the Newcastle Gold Cup, but he is confident that the progressive galloper can continue to improve as he becomes more accustomed to Australian racing.
“He will run Friday week in the Newcastle Cup,” Vandyke said.
“It will be a big step-up because he has just been racing in benchmark races up until now.
“The Newcastle Cup is a Group 3 and he will be taking on horses like The Offer and Beyond Thankful that have proven themselves in stakes company.
“The upside for him will be the 2300, I have been dying to see him over further than 2000 and he will drop to the limit of 54.
“Whenever we have asked him to step-up he has.”
Astronomos is currently available at 2015 The Metropolitan odds of $21 with Ladbrokes, while Hartnell ($9) and Magic Hurricane ($9) are both locked in a battle for favouritism.