Ruakaka trainers Donna Logan and Chris Gibbs will be giving serious thought this week to the immediate future of their record-breaking Champagne Stakes winner Astara.
On Saturday at Ellerslie the Dalghar filly demolished the national 1600-metre record for two-year-olds when leading throughout the Listed race and stopping the clock at 1:34.32. The previous best time for the furthest distance contested by two-year-olds in New Zealand was 1:36.03 recorded by Fast Dragon in the 2013 edition of the Champagne Stakes.
With a Listed success on her two-win scorecard, Astara is now under consideration for a Brisbane winter campaign, with that decision hinging on discussions with the filly’s Perth-based owner Neven Botica, who also owns the Brighthill Farm-based Dalghar.
“I’ll be talking that through with Neven in the next day or two,” Logan said. “She’s come through the weekend bright and bouncy and hasn’t left an oat, so we’ll put a saddle on her tomorrow and go from there.”
Stable star Volkstok’n’barrell, who stepped out at Ellerslie on Saturday for a bold hitout between races, is already booked on the first charter flight to Brisbane scheduled for next Sunday. His first carnival assignment will be the 1800-metre Hollindale Stakes, a Group Two weight-for-age at the Gold Coast on May 7, in which he will be ridden by Blake Shinn.
Should a carnival campaign be decided for Astara, races she could be aimed at include the Gr. 2 Sires’ Produce Stakes over 1350 metres at Doomben on May 28 and the Gr. 1 J J Atkins Stakes over 1600 metres at Eagle Farm on Stradbroke day, June 11.
“We’ve got some time to play with as there are two more flights to Brisbane, but we’ve still got to make that decision,” Logan said. “If we stay home she’ll be heading to the paddock and her spring programme will be aimed at the 1000 Guineas.”