Godolphin colts Astoria and Sanctioned will have their staying credentials tested when they tackle the Group Three Gloaming Stakes at Rosehill.
The three-year-olds step up in trip to 1800m for the first time on Saturday as Godolphin head trainer James Cummings gauges whether they warrant a Group One debut in the Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on October 7.
Astoria spearheaded the 11-strong filed as the $2.50 TAB favourite on Thursday in Gloaming Stakes odds, while his stablemate was on the second line of betting at $3.40.
Cummings agreed with that pecking order when appraising their preparations.
Astoria is backing up from a “strong, surging win” in the Group Three Spring Stakes at Newcastle last Friday.
“He’s come through the run really well and he needs racing to keep bringing him on,” Cummings said.
Sanctioned produced a creditable second to Golden Rose candidate Gold Standard in the Group Two Stan Fox Stakes (1500m) on September 9, after opening this campaign with a third in the Group Three Up & Coming Stakes (1300m).
“I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself as far as spring targets go, but he’s nominated for the majors. He’s on an upward spiral,” Cummings said.
Street Cry colt Beau Geste also continues his development second-up in a Benchmark 74 Handicap (1300m).
Beau Geste opened his second preparation with a third behind the in-form Super Ex and Merovee in a Benchmark 75 Handicap (1300m) earlier this month.
“We were very satisfied with his first-up run against a couple of very promising horses,” Cummings said.
“With a bit more fitness on his side he’s going to be running a very big race.”