The Astrologist back for second Standish

11 January 2024 Written by Racing & Sports

The Astrologist will contest Saturday’s Standish Handicap second up at Flemington.

Popular seven-year-old gelding The Astrologist will return to his happy hunting ground at Flemington as he aims to record his fourth win down the straight and his first Group 3 Standish Handicap (1200m).

Third in the race in 2022 to Halvorsen, who had a setback and won't be contesting the race, The Astrologist resumed in the Listed Xmas Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield, finishing ninth to Sghirripa who will start favourite on Saturday.

Troy Corstens, who trains in partnership with father Leon, expects a better run but is wary the horse has taken a long time to get fit since an overseas jaunt that included a narrow second placing in the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint (1200m) at Meydan.

"I think it's a really good race, second up he's still got to take a stack of improvement, as he's gotten older he has taken a little bit longer to hit his peak as he's racing and it does take a good race or two to take him to get him to where we need him," Corstens said.

"In saying that, he's improved, he's come off the Christmas Stakes run really well and I'm very happy with him. This will tighten him right up though."

A Group 3 winner down the Flemington straight having taken out the 2021 Aurie's Star Handicap, The Astrologist's last win came in the inaugural Gold Rush at Ascot in December 2022.

After two runs in Group 1 company in Melbourne, he flew the flag for Australia in Dubai before three runs in England, running fifth in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes (1200m) at Royal Ascot before returning home and Corstens has noted just how long a horse can take to recover from such a trip.

"It took ages, it was more coming back and settling back into the southern hemisphere, he didn't know what was going on, he was all over the place, his coat came and then went again and then it's just starting to come again now, he's improved, you'll see improvement on Saturday but this run will really top him off," Corstens said.