What a horse!
In front of all the world to see Bennett Racing’s The Astrologist showed exactly why he has such a huge following as he tried his heart out, to be beaten a ½ head on the post in the Gr1 Alqoz Sprint at Meydan on Sunday morning.
The Leon & Troy Corstens trained 6yo nearly pulled off an ambitious plan to run in Dubai, that was hatched earlier in the year. A good run in the Gr1 Oakleigh Plate set the horse up for possibly a career best run in the Gr1 Newmarket Hcp, a race he was a close 2nd in last year. Beaten this year by only 2 Len in the Newmarket, in a race that was so highly rated and the horse put in an amazing effort.
The Astrologist flew to Dubai on the Tuesday after the Newmarket accompanied by assistant Malua trainer Dom Sutton and regular track rider Raquel Bennett. As reported by Dom the horse settled in terrific in quarantine and was immediately out on the Meydan track showing his wares.
Top Austraian jockey took the reins and although the big gelding was slightly slow away, Damian moved him up quickly to settle just off the pace. Having the horse ready to strike at the 200m, Damian let The Astrologist go and he put himself near or in the lead and looked set to pull off an amazing win but was just shaded on the line by an outsider.
As per normal the horse tried his heart out and was so strong on the line, giving his all, a real testament to the horses constitution and will to win.
What an outstanding performance and in collecting his 3rd Gr1 placing, The Astrologist took his overall record to 36 starts for 8 wins 5 2nds and 8 3rds and amassing over 2.6 mil in prizemoney.
A great training effort by the Team at Malua & Vet Maxine Brain and testament to the horse’s durability who was having his 10th run this prep. The Astrologist did have a little break in between winning the 1.5 Mil Gr 3 Gold Rush in Ascot in December and running in the Gr1 Oakleigh Plate in February.
Many of The Astrologist’s owners made the trip to Dubai and the horse gave them the thrill of a lifetime going so close to a famous victory. Immediately after the race The Astrologist was invited to compete at Royal Ascot and follow the path of many Australian sprinters that were successful at the famous course. Marco Botti will take over training the gelding for his tilt at Royal Ascot. The horse will be flown to England this week.
A 150k Magic Million purchase from the Goodwood Farm draft, The Astrologist was the 1st Zoustar purchased by Bennett Racing and many more have followed since proving to be a very popular sire for Bennett Racing.
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Tough Australian sprinter The Astrologist will head to Royal Ascot after a gallant second in the Gr1 Al Quoz sprint overnight.
The Leon and Troy Corstens-trained galloper was beaten by a head in the Group 1 in Dubai, looking the winner just before and just after the winning post.
Royal Ascot’s Nick Smith made a beeline to managing owner Nathan Bennett after the race, officially inviting him to race at one of the world’s most famous carnivals. The Astrologist is unlikely to return home from Dubai and will instead head straight to England where he is likely to be housed with Marco Botti. Botti has an association with Bennett after the pair combined with Ardakan, who ran fourth earlier in the evening in the Dubai Gold Cup.
The Astrologist, however, did Australia proud, with Danyah proving just too hard to hold out in the shadows of the winning post.
“He’s such a superstar this horse. He’s so tough, so honest,” Bennett said post-race fighting back tears. “Everything you want in a horse is that. “At the 100m I saw him lift and I actually thought we had it on the line. “We nearly pulled it off. We’ve flown the Aussie flag pretty well. I couldn’t be prouder of our team, couldn’t be prouder of the horse, couldn’t be prouder of Leon and Troy Corstens and their team.
The Astrologist could run twice during the Royal Ascot carnival, with both the King’s Stand and the Platinum Jubilee Stakes on the agenda. The Astrologist has proven he can handle a lot of racing, running three times in a week during the 2022 spring carnival.
“We will talk to Troy, Stuart Boman will help us out,” Bennett said of Royal Ascot. “But he’s definitely going there.
Bennett said Saturday’s performance was his proudest moment in racing. “Without taking a trophy home, that’s as good as it gets,” he said. “He won’t be flying back to Australia now.”
Assistant trainer Dom Sutton said: “We’re super proud of the horse. He’s such a tough and honest horse and we always knew, if we got him here in as good an order as we could, he was going to be right in the finish. “He gave his all. Obviously, it’s a little bit gut-wrenching to go down by such a small margin but overall, we couldn’t be more proud of him. He’s such a marvel, running two weeks ago in the Newmarket Handicap, coming through a 14-hour flight and performing like that.
“We are looking forward to getting that G1 with him in the near future.”