James McDonald will be hoping for a quick return...
Arguably Godolphin’s two leading chances of success in the Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) in a fortnight, Astern and Calliope were both unlucky to be scratched from races at Randwick over the weekend but remain good chances of lining up for the world’s richest two-year-old race.
Astern is yet to taste anything but success through his short racing career so far but was unable to take his position in the field for the Group 2 Todman Stakes (1200m) on Saturday after returning a high white blood cell count on Friday.
Calliope was on track to be sent off a leading chance of success in the Group 2 Reisling Stakes (1200m) but was a late scratching for the race after getting her leg over the barrier just prior to jump.
Trainer John O’Shea revealed that while unideal, both runners remain on target for the 2016 Golden Slipper and will likely each take their places in two-year-old Group 2 races at Rosehill Gardens this weekend.
“He’ll (Astern) trial on Thursday at Warwick Farm,” O’Shea told Racing Victoria.
“When his blood picture came in with a high white cell count I just wanted to leave him at home.
“He worked this morning and he was great.
“Calliope will run on Saturday in the Magic Night.
“It (Golden Slipper) has opened up a bit, but the Melbourne horses are deserved favourites. If we can have a good fortnight we might be able to be competitive, though.”
Astern stamped himself as one to watch upon debuting to racing for success in the Surf Meets Turf Maiden Plate (1000m) in December and made a successful transition to black type racing when charging home to win the Group 2 Silver Slipper Stakes (1100m) first-up this time a fortnight ago.
Calliope charged home to win the Listed Gimcrack Stakes (1000m) on debut in October and is sure to have taken plenty of benefit from her first-up run for a credible fifth in the Group 2 Blue Diamond Prelude F (1100m) at Caulfield on February 13th.
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