Promising young Godolphin galloper Astern is new early favourite to take out next autumn’s 2016 Golden Slipper in Sydney following his successful debut at Randwick over the weekend.
Prepared by John O’Shea the nicely-bred Medaglia D’Oro colt trialled at Rosehill on November 24 to win over 900m before racing first-up last Saturday in the $85,000 Surf Meets Turf Plate (1000m) for two-year-olds.
He made an immediate impact with an eye-catching two and a half-length victory over fellow debutant Niccolance with the subsequently injured Regimental Force a distant third.
The beaten odds-on favourite, Gerald Ryan’s Sepoy colt Regimental Force suffered a hairline fracture during the run and will spend six to eight weeks in the paddock ruling him out of the $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic (1200m) on the Gold Coast on January 9.
Second favourite in betting for the set weights plus penalties race, Astern was ridden by James McDonald for his comprehensive win that saw him shoot up the all-in markets for the $3 million Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 19.
O’Shea has saddled-up 15 previous Golden Slipper starters but is yet to win, training one runner-up and one third placegetter in the world’s richest juvenile’s race.
After opening at $101 in the futures Golden Slipper markets pre-debut Astern’s price has since been slashed into as short as $6 as he battles the Peter & Paul Snowden-trained Capitalist for favouritism.
A son of Written Tycoon, Capitalist also won on debut but in black-type company with an impressive three length victory in the Listed Breeders Plate (1000m) at Randwick on October 3.
He trialled at Rosehill on Tuesday morning gearing up for his 2016 Magic Millions 2YO Classic run next month, for which he pays $3.50 as the firm favourite through Ladbrokes.com.au to win.
It was the ideal trial performance ahead of the restricted summer feature with jockey Blake Shinn guiding the smart colt to an all-too-easy four length victory over Who Said It’s Easy.
Astern and Capitalist are the only two currently under double figures to win this season’s Golden Slipper with the next best in betting being Calliope and Defcon.
A stablemate to the narrow favourite, fellow O’Shea-trained Calliope is the best fancied filly in the mix to become the third girl to beat home the boys in four years in the Slipper.
If successful she will join Gai Waterhouse’s 2013 winner Overreach and the Team Hawkes-trained Mossfun who made it back-to-back victories for the fillies in 2014.
A daughter of Exceed And Excel, Calliope won her Randwick debut in early October posting a one and three-quarter length success over Jeanneau in the Listed Gimcrack Stakes (1000m).
Defcon meanwhile is also prepared by Team Snowden, the unraced Choisir colt’s only official appearance being a trial win at Randwick over 838m back in September.
Other progressive youngsters to watch in the early markets including the Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes-trained Stratum filly Midnight Rose who is yet to debut for the 2014 winning stable, Not A Single Doubt colt Extreme Choice who caught the eye with his two length trial win over 900m at Rosehill on Tuesday morning and the aforementioned Gimcrack Stakes runner-up Jeanneau for Newcastle’s Paul Perry.
First acceptances for the Golden Slipper taken in October attracted 1461 horses with second declarations closing on Monday January 25, 2016.
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