Godolphin runner Astern has stamped himself as a serious 2016 Golden Slipper contender at Rosehill Gardens this afternoon; justifying his clear race favouritism to win the Group 2 Silver Slipper Stakes (1200m).
Leading Sydney hoop Hugh Bowman was given the ride on Astern when regular rider James McDonald was confirmed to ride in Melbourne today, and allowed the colt to stride forward from the barriers after jumping well and immediately take up the pace.
Setting a reasonable tempo alongside the likes of Rafha’s Choice and Defcon, the Medaglia D’oro colt held a good position on the rails and was offered a clear racing line upon arriving at the final straight.
Kicking up a gear, Astern pulled clear of his rivals and while momentarily appearing as though he would be overtaken by Defcon and a flying Mount Panoroma, maintained to the line to continue his unbeaten career start.
Trainer John O’Shea was pleased with Astern’s performance for success in the 2016 Silver Slipper and underlined the Group 2 Todman Stakes (1200m) as the final point of call for the colt ahead of the Golden Slipper.
“You can see how his ears pricked he’s still learning and looking,” O’Shea said.
“Hughie had plenty up the sleeve and it would be nice if he had something to follow one day but at the moment he’s getting the job done and he’s in the race now.
“We’ll just go to the Todman in a couple of weeks and hope he has a nice day there, does everything right and see what it brings after that.”
Bowman delivered a typically strong performance aboard Astern in the Silver Slipper Stakes and is confident the horse will only improve from the run.
“I think he’s a ready-made super horse,” Bowman said.
“He put the writing on the wall in his first start.
“I’ve had very little to do with him but I went out on Tuesday morning just to get a feel of his and he just went through his paces.
“To come here on race day and ask him to stretch and feel the response he gave me, it’s pretty impressive.
“He got into stride and I went to just back him off when he got to the lead but he was going to have none of that. He wasn’t being fierce, he just wanted to gallop.
“I loved his response when he was challenged and I can only see him improving on today.
“It’s an honour to fill in for James while he’s in Melbourne, but happy to do that when I can.”
Astern remains at a quote of $11 for success in early 2016 Golden Slipper betting markets with Ladbrokes.com.au.
2016 Silver Slipper Stakes Results
|1||2||ASTERN||John O’Shea||Hugh Bowman||–||5||56.5kg||$1.50F|
|2||3||DEFCON||Peter & Paul Snowden||Blake Shinn||0.5L||7||56.5kg||$4.80|
|3||5||MOUNT PANORAMA||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Tommy Berry||1.3L||1||56.5kg||$11|
|4||7||RATHER SWEET||Gary Nickson||Ms Winona Costin (a)||2.3L||4||54.5kg||$41|
|5||6||KING OF WAR||Peter & Paul Snowden||Kerrin McEvoy||2.8L||2||56.5kg||$15|
|6||4||PITTSBURGH||Anthony Cummings||Jason Collett||3.6L||3||56.5kg||$19|
|7||1||RAFHA’S CHOICE||Bede Murray||Tye Angland||9.6L||6||56.5kg||$71|