Smart filly Astor will bid to give her tyro trainer Cody Cole the first black type training success of his career at her next appearance.
The three-year-old finished runner-up to Melody Belle in the Group 3 Mongolian Khan Trophy (1200m) in her first start for the Matamata horseman and she had no trouble going one better in Saturday’s Beko Appliances 1200m at Ellerslie.
“As long as she gets through this okay, she’ll be back here for the Listed Mufhasa Stakes on Derby Day,” Cole said.
Astor handled the Slow 8 conditions comfortably enough, but she is expected to be far more effective on a better surface.
“When you ride her, her action suggests she wants to be on top of the ground,” Cole said. The daughter of Iffraaj settled third under Cole’s partner Samantha Collett before moving off the fence to sit on the leader’s quarters.
“Sam did the right thing by popping out – you don’t want to get unlucky in a small field,” he said.
Astor quickly mastered the frontrunner Not Usual Heart into the straight and they coasted clear to score by three and three-quarter lengths from Morrie Ock and Eeny Meeny Miny Mo.
“There was no Melody Belle in the field this time and I didn’t want to get stuck in a pocket so I opted to push the button,” Collett said.
“They didn’t go that fast early and she did relax and found a very good kick.”