Astrogal and Michael Coleman have their rivals stretched at the line. Kenton Wright www.raceimages.co.nz
Astrogal (3 B. F. O’Reilly – Guess, by Entrepreneur) had form behind the recent listed Sarten Memorial winner We Can Say It Now (Starcraft) and on Friday at Matamata she grabbed her share of the limelight with an impressive victory.
With gate speed to zip across and lead from a wide barrier over 1200-metres in the Pencarrow Stud 3YO Fillies Maiden she was then able to settle into the role.
After dictating the pace through the mid stages she quickened appreciably when asked to extend at the 250m and rider Michael Coleman was required to use only hands and heels over the concluding stages.
At the line she had three-and-a-quarter-lengths to spare over the favourite Annzabeel (Zabeel) who fought hard for second on debut off a wide run, while Bella Carolina (O’Reilly) was three-quarters-of-a-length away in third.
On good footing Astrogal ran the 1200m in 1:11.18 and paid $10.00 & $2.70.
Having finished second to smart filly Dating (O’Reilly) at the trials in April she then debuted in May on the Matamata track when finding the line for fifth on unsuitable slow ground.
The winner of that race was We Can Say It Now, who is currently at $6 for the 2000 Guineas and $3 for the 1000 Guineas in the NZ TAB fixed odds markets.
Astrogal resumed from a spell at Taupo on October 6 where she fought hard after being posted wide during the run in a race won impressively by Baltika (Stravinsky), a promising filly from the family of Horlicks (Sir Tristram).
Local trainer Lance Noble was suitably impressed by the performance of Astrogal in a field of good calibre. “I thought it was a nice field”, said Noble. “I’ve always had a bit of an opinion on her, but it’s nice to see them do that.”
A $45,000 purchase by Rob Burnet from the draft of Shelby Park at the 2009 New Zealand Bloodstock Select Yearling Sale, for Allan and Colleen Jackson, she sports Bourbon Lassie (Mellay) as her grand-dam who is the dam of Omincorp (Grosvenor), Bourbon Boy (Reindeer) and Crimson (Zabeel).
With stamina in her pedigree, Noble said, “Like most O’Reilly’s she’ll get a mile, 2000m, and you might get away with 2400m as a three-year-old.”
Given the athleticism she displayed and the domination of her win it seems the connections could have another filly of similar ilk to the smart performer Irlanda (O’Reilly), a group two, group three and listed stakes winner for the same owner-trainer combination.