Kublers Living The Dream With Astro King

It took until just short of his seventh birthday for Astro King (IRE) to contest a Group race but British trainers Daniel and Claire Kubler believe their stable star can become a regular in the world’s elite races over the year ahead, starting with the US$2m Howden Neom Turf Cup on Saturday.

Astro King was last seen finishing sixth in the Bahrain International Trophy in November, although connections felt he was unlucky in the closing stages of that race. That effort has prompted the sense he belongs at the highest level.

"With a little more luck, he might well have placed second or third," Claire Kubler recalled at King Abdulaziz Racecourse, just off the plane from the UK, on Wednesday morning.

"He was on the rail in Bahrain and ran into traffic. It was frustrating but we had to notice that it was established horses like Point Lonsdale and [triple Group 1 winner] Nations Pride that were in his path and he was finishing stronger than them."

The Kublers picked up Astro King for a relatively light transfer fee of around £38,000 out of the legendary Sir Michael Stoute’s stable at the Tattersalls Autumn Sale at the end of 2022. He has won two of his six starts since then and many times that auction spend, latterly when carrying a record weight to success in the Cambridgeshire, the famous old handicap over 1800m on fast ground at Newmarket.

That performance opened doors to international participation and rather than tackle the alternative of the Winter Derby at Southwell on the same day, Astro King has a legitimate shot of featuring at the sharp end of one of the world’s richest races.

"He looked great working on the dirt track," Claire Kubler continued. "It’s amazing for our team and his owners to be a part of this occasion. It’s so exciting and we feel he can run well."

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