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Spring plans taking shape at Newcastle

Mike Hedge

The prospect of a start in the G1 Spring Champion Stakes is ahead of Astoria if he runs up to expectations in Friday’s G3 Spring Stakes at Newcastle.

Twice a placegetter at Group level in his four starts, Astoria (Tye Angland) put himself forward as a possible classic colt when third in the G3 Ming Dynasty Stakes last start.

“If he runs well he’s looming as a Spring Champion Stakes later in the Spring. He could run in the Gloaming Stakes or the Dulcify in between,” said trainer James Cummings.

“If he just takes that next step forward he’s going to be a real chance in the Spring Stakes. He’s got a real glow about him."

Astoria is joined at Newcastle by fillies Pygmy and Philosophy who run in the G3 Tibbie Stakes.

Both come into the race with strong credentials, Pygmy (Kerrin McEvoy) having finished second on the G1 Queensland Oaks at her last outing, while Philosophy is a last start winner in restricted company in Sydney.

“This is a good starting point for Pygmy who is a mare that we can see getting up to 1600 or 2000 metres this preparation,” Cummings said.

“I won’t be surprised to see her run well fresh here. She had a nice little trial for Kerrin McEvoy a couple of weeks ago and she seems to be in really good order and has matured well from her three-year-old prep.”

Cummings sees Philosophy (Corey Brown) as a mare of considerable promise who can graduate to stakes grade during the Spring.

“She won the final race of the season in July against mares and since then she’s had a nice, easy time out at the farm and has freshened up well,” he said.

“The sort of work she’s been producing she’s certainly ready to run well again and give us an indication of where she might sit among the black-type mares.”