He is odds-on favourite to win Saturday’s 2016 Silver Slipper Stakes, but trainer John O’Shea believes Astern will only improve on whatever he does at Rosehill Gardens at his second start.
The son of Medaglia D’Oro won his debut at Randwick over 1000m by a tidy two and a half lengths in early December and returns to racing this weekend in the $250,000 Group 2 Silver Slipper Stakes (1100m).
There are just seven two-year-olds in the Silver Slipper mix this weekend, Astern dominating betting at $1.70 through Ladbrokes.com.au to keep his undefeated record in check.
The up-and-comer heads towards the $3.5 million Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes (1200m) back at the track on March 19, a classic O’Shea searches for his maiden win in.
Astern is high up all-in Golden Slipper betting and will only firm further in those futures markets on the world’s richest race for juveniles if he salutes for the punters on Saturday.
Hugh Bowman has the prized mount from gate five, Astern winning a lead-up Warwick Farm trial in impressive fashion.
O’Shea however admits the boom youngster isn’t 100% wound up just yet and that a Silver Slipper Stakes win when he is underdone would just prove his class.
“He’s still got a lot of improvement fitness wise so if he was to win on Saturday we would be really happy,” he told Racenet.
“He’s furnished a bit since his last preparation, and a bit smarter as well.”
The Silver Slipper Stakes – Golden Slipper Stakes double has been achieved in recent years by Mossfun (2014) and Pierro (2012), and O’Shea believes Astern is a livewire hope of being the next to take out both races.
Bowman partnered Astern for a Tuesday morning jump-out at Hawkesbury to get a feel for the galloper whose regular rider James McDonald heads to Melbourne on Saturday to ride stablemate and race favourite Exosphere in Flemington’s $750,000 Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m).
“Hugh came out and had a gallop on him and he was very happy with him,” O’Shea said.
“It’s important because Hugh now has a bit of an understanding of what the horse can achieve on Saturday.”
Astern’s biggest rival in the Silver Slipper Stakes field and betting markets this Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival is touted as Defcon ($3.30) for Peter & Paul Snowden.
The Choisir colt scratched out of Melbourne’s Group 3 Blue Diamond Prelude (C&G) last Saturday, but trialled well at Rosehill on Monday ahead of his first run since finishing second to Tessera in the Group 3 Canonbury Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill on January 30.
The other major Canonbury Stakes graduate lining up in the Silver Slipper on Saturday is third placegetter Mount Panorama ($8) for Hawkes Racing.
The son of Sebring gets the inside run from barrier one this weekend as he looks to break his maiden status at his third career starts, regular rider Tommy Berry aboard once more.
Check out the full Silver Slipper Stakes 2016 betting odds and options online now at Ladbrokes.com.au and enjoy access to the best futures Golden Slipper markets also!