There cannot be many more popular horses in the north than El Astronaute and John Quinn’s sprinter began his sixth season of racing with his 13th career success in the Betway Achilles Stakes at Doncaster.
The seven-year-old has a big following due to his style of racing – which is very much blast and run.
While that leaves him vulnerable on occasions in the highest company – although he was third in the Prix de l’Abbaye when last seen – he is very difficult to catch at Listed level, as he proved once more.
Regular rider Jason Hart got him into his customary position at the head of affairs early on and with favourite Dakota Gold looking beaten at halfway having missed the break, he just had Tarboosh to beat.
Paul Midgley’s charge had been on an upward curve at the end of last season and looks set for another big year given the way he travelled through this contest. However, try as he might he could not get past the game chestnut, who kept on pulling out more to win by half a length at 9-2.
“He’s a fantastic horse to ride and to have around the place, you always know what he is going to bring,” said Hart.
“He’s very straightforward in terms of a race, but at the back end of last year he had an issue in the stalls in Ireland.
“We’ve changed a couple of little things and today I pulled the blind off as the stalls were opening and it’s worked the oracle.
“He normally improves off his first run of the year so that bodes well. He stuck to his guns today and showed his usual blistering pace.
“I’ve had three winners since the comeback, and two have been Listed so I can’t complain.”