Pam Sly strikes Doncaster Mile gold with Astral Beau

Horse Racing

Four-year-old filly springs a surprise in Listed contest.

Pam Sly is no stranger to pulling the odd rabbit out of a hat and she managed it again when Astral Beau bolted up in the Pertemps Network Doncaster Mile.

With morning favourite Simon and Ed Crisford’s unbeaten Poker Face a non-runner due to the testing conditions, the Listed contest had an open look to it, but Astral Beau was sent off a bigger price than all bar one of the others runners at 9-1.

Hollie Doyle set the tempo on Tempus, but looked a sitting duck as Tacarib Bay loomed up on the outside entering the final two furlongs.

However, Rob Hornby had every move covered on the filly Astral Beau, who won three of her final four outings last season.

Despite that progress, she was still only rated 86, by some way the lowest in the race, but some bold thinking by Sly paid off and she now has another very valuable filly on her hands given she is from the same family as her 1000 Guineas winner Speciosa.

Hornby clearly was not thinking of any further handicaps, driving her out to win by four lengths from Brunch.

“I expected it to be honest but you probably think I’m big-headed in saying that,” said Sly.

Trainer Pam Sly
Trainer Pam Sly (Julian Herbert/PA)

“She improved so much at the end of last season and she loved the soft ground.

“The ground is important but we thought she’d improved at home. Shane Kelly had been in a couple of times to ride her and said as much.

“I don’t know what we’ll do now, we’ve nowhere else to run her as all the other races were 0-100 or something so I thought we may as well come here and have a go – and it’s paid off.”

Hornby said: “That was remarkable as nothing went to plan really. I was supposed to get cover but I got left on the wing and I was always over-racing.

“When you have a horse like her who goes on this ground it makes such a difference – it felt like good ground on her.

“She improved a lot last year and to beat horses rated so superior to her, she must have a bright future.”

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