Quinn sets sights on Curragh raid with El Astronaute

Evergreen seven-year-old was a Doncaster winner last month.

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El Astronaute will bid to enhance his impressive record at the Curragh by gaining a first Pattern-race success in the Holden Plant Rental Sapphire Stakes on July 19.

The John Quinn-trained seven-year-old will attempt to go one better than 12 months ago in the Group Two prize and add to his win in last year’s Rockingham Handicap at the Kildare track.

Despite being in the twilight of his career, El Astronaute showed he retains plenty of ability on his return to action last month, claiming a third Listed success in the rescheduled Achilles Stakes at Doncaster.

Quinn said: “The plan is to go to the Sapphire Stakes at the Curragh. He is a very good horse and he has travelled over there before and won at the Curragh and also run well there. It was a good performance he put up at Doncaster.

“He appears to have come out of it fine and I’m very happy with him ahead of going to Ireland.”

Although travel restrictions are currently in place in Ireland due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Malton handler is optimistic they may be eased sufficiently before El Astronaute heads there later this month.

He said: “I’m hoping in a couple of weeks’ time things will be eased. I’ve a few good friends over in Ireland, like Ger Lyons, so I’m sure they would be able to accommodate us.

“The horse would have done all his work, it would be a case of just doing some walking exercise the day before the race. If the restrictions are not eased it would not stop us going.”

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