The brilliant Astern, one of Godolphin’s flagship horses of recent years, has been retired and will join Darley’s Kelvinside roster later this year.
The winner of five of his nine starts, including the G1 Golden Rose last Spring, Astern retires to stud the highest-rated son of leading stallion Medaglia d’Oro.
As a two-year-old, he won his first two starts, staking his claim for top juvenile status in mid-season when he also took the G2 Silver Slipper Stakes.
But a wide barrier – he drew 16 of 16 – scuppered his chances of adding the G1 Golden Slipper to his CV, and following a luckless run, he finished 11th.
He bounced back from that Golden Slipper defeat with a win in the G3 Kindergarten Stakes at Randwick two weeks later.
Following a short spell from racing, he returned in brilliant form to land both the G2 Run To The Rose and the featured G1 Golden Rose, over 1400m at Rosehill, and rounded off that Spring with solid seconds in the G2 Roman Consul and Flemington’s G1 Coolmore Stud Stakes.
Trainer John O’Shea was full of praise for a colt he always held in the highest regard.
“He’s the best colt I’ve ever trained by far and away in terms of ability and we are very lucky to have put a saddle on his back. He had a wonderful demeanour, explosive turn of speed and he was prominent in our thoughts as soon as he entered the stable,” O’Shea said.
“His three-year-old Spring was destructive with his win in the G1 Golden Rose stamping him as the dominant three-year-old in the country.”
“We were adamant he had so much on his opposition in the Golden Rose that drawing out didn’t affect him and if we gave him a chance he would win the race. He was so explosive in the finish he had them covered a long way from home.”
Henry Plumptre, managing director of Godolphin Australia, said: “Astern is a colt of the highest quality. He is an exceptional type from a world-class family.
“His dam Essaouira was a brilliantly fast daughter of Exceed And Excel and his grand dam, Alizes, won the Magic Night as a two-year-old and was favourite for the Golden Slipper before succumbing to injury.
“His performance in the Golden Rose placed him on top of the three-year-old rankings.
“Medaglia d’Oro has been a phenomenal stallion for us in both hemispheres, and, as his best son, Astern has all the credentials to follow in his father’s footsteps.
O’Shea said he has the potential to make a major impact on the Australian breeding industry.
“I think he will be an outstanding stallion because he will throw horses with great temperament and good speed. Most commercial breeders want a horse that presents very well and looks the part and if he throws them in the image of himself he’s going to have all those things.”