Astoria earns G1 bid with Newcastle win

A shot at Group One grade awaits Astoria after the Godolphin colt upset favourite Merovee to win the Spring Stakes at Newcastle.

Despite Friday’s Group Three race not going to plan, winning jockey Tye Angland didn’t panic, settling Astoria ($4.20) towards the rear before bringing the colt with a sweeping run down the outside to score by three-quarters of a length.

Angland said he had anticipated being closer in the run but when it didn’t pan out that way he opted to stalk the $2.50 favourite Merovee who had no answer for the winner’s finishing surge.

“He’s doing everything right and he won that well, ” Angland said.

“He has more improvement to give.”

Godolphin assistant trainer Nacim Dilmi confirmed Astoria would now be aimed towards next month’s Spring Champion Stakes where he expects the colt to relish a distance rise to 2000 metres.

“He is he type of horse who will go to 2000 and 2400 metres so to do that second-up over a mile today was very impressive,” Dilmi said.

“The Spring Champion Stakes is probably on the cards now.”

Hugh Bowman wasn’t disappointed with the defeat of Frankel colt Merovee who he says is still learning.

“He showed a lack of maturity today but what impressed me most was the way he kept fighting, ” Bowman said.

Primitivo made good ground from the rear to finish third.

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