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Bookmakers might not be too impressed with Astern’s Silver Slipper win, but his trainer has no doubt he’s the real deal.

Godolphin trainer John O’Shea was drawn to compare Astern with last year’s Golden Slipper winner Vancouver after he won Saturday’s Group Two race, his second victory from as many starts.



However, the TAB kept Astern at $11 for the Golden Slipper on March 19 behind Capitalist ($3.50) and Extreme Choice ($8).

Sent out the $1.50 favourite for the Silver Slipper (1100m), Astern was sent to the front by Hugh Bowman and just when it looked as if Defcon ($4.80) would challenge, the leader responded to his jockey’s urgings and kept his rival at bay by half a length.

Mount Panorama ($11) ran an eye-catching third after missing the start by four lengths.

“He is a quality colt,” O’Shea said.

“He’s a lot like Vancouver last year. He was bigger and stronger than anyone else and this colt is similar.

“He was there to be beaten today but Hugh had them covered.”

Bowman, who was filling in for Godolphin jockey James McDonald who rode in Melbourne on Saturday, said there was still improvement to come.

“I felt Defcon coming but my horse found another gear,” he said.

“He’s still a bit new and he’s still improving.”

The Golden Slipper picture will become clearer in the next two weeks with Extreme Choice to run in next Saturday’s Blue Diamond Stakes.

A week later the Peter and Paul Snowden-trained Capitalist will face off against Astern in the Todman Stakes.

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