Horses To Follow » Astro King

Astro King

Astro King ran a big race in the John Smith’s Cup at York last Saturday, going down by just a nose to Pride Of America in the end. Dropped in early on, he was towards the rear of the field early on and along the inside rail. Still well back in the field when they turned for home, he made his ground on the far side of the field as the runners angled towards the stands rail. He came under pressure on the run to the two-furlong marker, but he responded to pressure. He continued to close on the leaders out in the centre, furthest from the stand rail, and he lunged at the line, failing by a whisker to catch the winner.

It was a big run by the Kingman gelding on just his third run for Daniel and Claire Kubler, in a race in which the pace held up well. He was the only one of the first five home who didn’t race prominently from early, and it probably wasn’t an advantage that he raced well away from the stands rail. He was a talented handicapper for Sir Michael Stoute, he finished second in the 2021 Royal Hunt Cup and he finished fourth in the 2022 Royal Hunt Cup, and he finished third in the Clipper Logistics Handicap at York’s Ebor meeting in 2021. He under-performed in his last two runs for Sir Michael Stoute last season, but he ran well in the Hambleton Handicap at York’s Dante meeting this year – a race in which he had run well before – on his first run for the Kublers, before disappointing in the Royal Hunt Cup this year. He was a massive price for Saturday’s race on the back of that, and on easy ground, and stepping up to an extended 10 furlongs for the first time since he was beaten when sent off as joint favourite for this race in 2021. The handicapper raised him by 3lb to a mark of 102 for this, but he will remain of interest off that mark, and he will be of particular interest when he returns to Ascot or York.
York, 15th July 2023