Golden Rose winner Astern will stick to his own age and head towards the Group 1 $500,000 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on October 29.
The John O’Shea trained Astern claimed his first Group 1 trophy with a dominant win in the $1m De Bortoli Wines Golden Rose (1400m) at Rosehill on September 10 but was then beaten as a short priced favourite when second to Russian Revolution in the Group 2 $300,000 The Star Roman Consul (1200m) at Randwick last Saturday.
Astern has been racing against the three year olds and the Godolphin team had considered stepping the Medaglia D’Oro colt up to weight for age class against the older sprinters in the Group 1 $1m Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on October 21 where he would have a distinct weight advantage on 53kg.
But Godolphin Australia’s managing director, Henry Plumptre, said that Astern at this stage would line against the three year olds down the Flemington straight on Derby Day.
“We made the decision overnight that he would run in the Coolmore,” Plumptre said.
“We looked at the Manikato Stakes and the Darley Classic up the straight but decided in the end to stick to his own age.”
With Astern sticking to the three year old set weight races, it will also guarantee that the stable’s number one rider James McDonald will be able to keep his association with the colt whereas he would not be able to get down to the 53kg in the Manikato Stakes.
“James would not be able to ride him in the Manikato whereas he can stay on board in the Coolmore,” Plumptre said.
Astern is set to clash with the Mick Price trained colt Extreme Choice in the Coolmore Stud Stakes who brilliantly beat the older horses in the Group 1 $500,000 Charter Keck Cramer Moir Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley last Friday night.
Extreme Choice has shown that he hasn’t lost any of his brilliance he showed during his two year old season when he won the Group 1 $1.5m Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield during the Melbourne Autumn Carnival.