Improving stayer Astronomos secured a Spring Carnival ticket with the Group 1 $400,000 The Metropolitan (2400m) at Randwick on October 3 the main target after a narrow but gutsy win at Randwick last Saturday.
Astronomos sliced in between runners in the straight to record his second win on the trot when he beat Dure and Campania in a driving finish in the $85,000 BenchMark 80 Handicap (2000m).
Trainer David Vandyke said that he was a little bit concerned that Astronomos was not going to peg back the leaders when held up behind runners in the early stages of the straight but was glad with the result and has mapped out a lead up program heading towards The Metropolitan.
“I didn’t think he was going to get there last Saturday,” Vandyke told Racing Ahead.
“At the 250m I was ready to rip my ticket up but he showed the quality horse that he is and he picked up late when he got clear and very impressive finish.”
“He is the sort of horse that I always felt was more a momentum horse. He needed to pick up from the corner and just work his way to the line. But it was new string in his bow on Saturday when he didn’t get out till late and still won.”
Even though Astronomos ploughed through the heavy track at Randwick okay and three of his five wins have been on rain affected surfaces, Vandyke feels that the rising five year old will be better suited when he gets back on a dry track.
“He is quite a heavy horse and he doesn’t strike me as the type that would handle heavy conditions. I am really excited about getting him onto some firmer going in the Spring,” Vandyke said.
“If he improves on that type of surface, look out.”
Vandyke has sent Astronomos off for a couple of weeks rest before he kicks off his Spring Carnival preparation in a BenchMark 1500m in five weeks before he heads to the Listed $100,000 Premier’s Cup (1800m) at Rosehill on August 29.
The New Approach stallion will then head to Newcastle to contest the Group 3 $175,000 Newcastle Gold Cup (2300m) on September 18 as his final lead up run for The Metropolitan.
“That’s pretty much the same program that Glencadam Gold followed on it’s path towards Metropolitan victory,” Vandyke said.
The Gai Waterhouse trained Glencadam Gold was able to led all of the way to win the 2012 Metropolitan after winning all his three lead up runs.
While Vandyke says that Astronomos doesn’t indicate on the training tracks that he is loaded with ability, his race day performances have convinced him to test the promising stayer at Group 1 level.
“He is a hard horse to assess on his work,” Vandyke said.
“He is very lazy and he certainly doesn’t give us the indication that he is up to Group 1 company, however his race day performances have been there for all to see, he just keeps improving, and he is certainly a magnificent type, regally bred, so we are going to give him every opportunity to get him to a Group 1 and hopefully winning it.”
Astromomos is a winner of five races from only seven race starts and has earned $117,050 in prizemoney for his connections.