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Astoria and Animalia test Derby prospects at Geelong

Mike Hedge

In the eyes of Godolphin’s Australian head trainer James Cummings, his three-year-olds are all Derby contenders until they prove themselves not to be.

And in the case of Astoria and Animalia, who run in the Listed Geelong Classic on Wednesday, the evidence in favour of them running in next month’s G1 Victoria Derby is growing in their favour.

“They are both showing the sort of ability and staying potential that says they are entitled to a place in the Derby, and we’ll see a bit more at Geelong,” Cummings said.

Astoria, a son of Medaglia d’Oro has a pedigree that traces directly to the outstanding producer Eight Carat whose offspring include the champion Octagonal and the G1 winners Tristalove, Don Eduardo and Viscount.

“He’s a very talented colt who has a lot to offer,” his trainer said.

“He won the Spring Stakes over 1600m at Newcastle last month in the style of a very good colt and his two runs since have suggested he will stay.”

At his last run Astoria put in a dour effort when fifth in the G1 Spring Champion Stakes, suggesting the step up to 2200m at Geelong would suit.

Cummings regards Animalia “a good old-fashioned three-year-old with plenty of stamina”.

“My plan has been to have him ready in the Derby with plenty of runs under his belt,” he said.

The two Derby aspirants will be joined at Geelong by the high-quality filly Ghisoni who runs in the Listed Rosemont Stud Stakes.

A winner at G2 level against her own sex in the Surround Stakes, Ghisoni has been troubled by injury which has restricted her to one run in the past 12 months.

“She’s been in and out of the stables as part of her recovery and the team has worked tirelessly to get her to the races, and hopefully back onto the winning list,” Cummings said.