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Article 30th September 2023 Newmarket

By Graham Clark

Astro King could be set for a spell travelling after securing Daniel and Claire Kubler with the biggest success of their career when carrying top-weight to glory in the bet365 Cambridgeshire at Newmarket on Saturday. The 9st 12lbs carried by Astro King is the highest winning weight in the history of the historic handicap, surpassing the 9st 10lbs carried by Cap Juluca in 1995.

Purchased out of Sir Michael Stoute’s yard for 30,000 guineas at last October’s Tattersalls Autumn horses-in-training sale the gelded son of Kingman continued to look a shrewd piece of business when landing today’s nine-furlong heritage handicap at 20-1.

Having opened his account when gaining a deserved success in a valuable contest at York last month the six-year-old had no problems in defying a five pounds rise for that victory after weaving his way through rivals late on in the £200,000 event. 

As the field split into three groups it was those closest to the stands side rail which held the advantage late on with hot favourite Greek Order, after finally getting the gaps, bursting through under Oisin Murphy, to throw down his challenge alongside leader of the far side group Dutch Decoy. 

However, the 5-2 favourite had no answer to the finishing kick of Astro King who burst through close to the stands side rail to get up by half a length to complete a 90-1 double for winning rider Richard Kingscote. 

Kubler said: “We didn’t pay a fortune for him, and you always buy hoping you can win races like this. It doesn’t work very often but it has worked very well with him. 

“After the John Smith’s Cup the race back at York was the obvious target and how he ran there was going to dictate where we went next. 

“William (Buick) said he might get a mile and a half and we considered it, but when we looked at all the options and you looked at this and you thought they will go a massive gallop and you need to get a mile and a quarter and the prizemoney is huge there is only one Cambridgeshire and what was the alternative. 

“We will have to go into Stakes company now. He could have run in a Listed race but they are worth fifty or sixty thousand (pounds), but this is worth one hundred thousand pounds to the winner.

“This is massive for the team as they all work really hard. Everyone wants to compete at the highest levels and to win a big handicap like this hopefully now everyone is looking forward to the next step. 

“We’ve got some nice horses and we have had a good season, but it means a bit to be winning on the biggest stages. It is special for them.  

“Mr (Nick) Luck must be able to see around corners as he booked us for Luck On Sunday tomorrow!”

Regarding future plans an outing in the Bahrain International Trophy on November 17th could be next up for Astro King. 

Kubler continued: “You hope something like this goes well but hopefully he might be rated high enough to go out there. It will be fast ground over 10 furlongs and it is a massive prize. 

“The horse owes nobody anything so you may as well have a go and see what happens. He is six years old so there is no point saving him for next season. You may as well enjoy him. 

“We will seriously consider it.”

True Cyan completed a good day for her owners KHK Racing Limited when running out the impressive winner on the Blanford Bloodstock Maiden Fillies’ Stakes. 

Having seen Vandeek power to victory in the Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes earlier on the card there was more success for Shaikh Khalid’s racing operation after the Roger Varian-trained daughter of No Nay Never hit the back of the net on her debut. 

Making rapid headway late on the 13-2 chance soon put the seven-furlong contest to bed once sent on by David Egan before scoring by a length and a half. 

Varian said: “She has won nicely. I thought she would run nicely as she has really clicked into gear the last fortnight. 

“I said to the owners if she finishes in the first six and shows promise we would be happy, but she has done better than that. 

“We will see how she comes out of this race as to whether we go for a novice or the Oh So Sharp Stakes, but that does come quite quickly, and we have done that before and they have not backed up. 

“She has not just won, but won really well. We will look forward to her next year.”   



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