Trainer John Quinn claims stable star El Astronaute is good enough to step up to the challenge of Sunday’s Friarstown Stud Sapphire Stakes at the Curragh.
The six-year-old returns to Ireland this weekend for the second day of action at the Curragh as he tries to extend his winning run to three races. El Astronaute won at the famous Irish track on June 27, while winning 13 days earlier at Cork in a Class 1 contest.
He is now rated a career-high 111 and Quinn believes there is little difference between previous races and stepping into Group contests. “He’s back in Ireland and has already shown his liking for the track,” said Quinn.
“Obviously he’s got to step up again, but he deserves to take his chance so we’ll look forward to it. “I don’t think there’s much difference between the top handicappers and the Group sprinters. To win a heritage handicap with top-weight, Flat or Jumps, you’re not far off being a Group horse.
“He’s second in on ratings so we’ll keep our fingers crossed. He’s fairly adaptable regards ground, the only ground he wouldn’t want is heavy – I ran him on it at Haydock one day and he sank. “Good to soft is fine for him and he won in France last year when they called it soft.”
El Astronaute is 5.00 to win this weekend, while Soldier’s Call remains the favourite at odds of 2.88. Caspian Prince will likely set the pace in the race but, at odds of 13.00, the veteran is expected to struggle. Equilateral is 5.50 to win, while Eddie Lynam’s Soffia is also well fancied at odds of 7.50.