Kublers looking towards Knavesmire return for Astro King

Daniel and Claire Kubler’s Astro King could return to York after his near miss in the John Smith’s Cup at the weekend.

The six-year-old was a 50-1 chance for the valuable handicap and ran a massive race under Tom Eaves to go down by just a nose.

A photo finish was required to call the winner as the gelding and Amy Murphy’s Pride Of America were inseparable on the line, with the image showing the most minute margin between the two horses’ outstretched heads.

Astro King could head back to the Knavesmire for the Ebor meeting in late August, with the Sky Bet Finale Handicap Stakes pencilled in as his next outing.

“Obviously it was a bit gutting to be second. Probably we’ll go back to York, there’s a race at the Ebor meeting, a 10-furlong 0-105 that I think will suit him,” Daniel Kubler said.

“Someone told me that if it hadn’t have been for the latest update in the technology it would have been a dead heat, the distance was that small.

“I couldn’t believe how close it was on the image, watching it live I thought he was beaten.

“I have thought that maybe in the past he wasn’t that honest, but I think he lost all of that.

“It was a huge effort, a big run – well done to all our team here for getting him back to put up what was probably a career-best performance.”

Astro King has been given a revised rating of 102, a 3lb rise on the rating of 99 that saw him carry 9st 1lb in the John Smith’s Cup.

His new mark will see him fit nicely into the York handicap next month and the Cambridgeshire at Newmarket has been mentioned for further down the line.

Kubler said of the York race: “The timing is nice for it, it’s the logical target.

“I think that’s what we’ll do at the moment and then we’ll see, we might have a look at something like the Cambridgeshire further down the line.

“He deserves to win a race but when you’re able to run in a race for that much prize-money, you might as well shoot for them I think and have a go.

“The race at York is 105, so that’s quite nice as he’ll miss those horses who are dipping in having had a go at Listed and Group Three level.

“You’re always vulnerable to progressive horses, the Group horse in a handicap, but he’s probably not far off that himself.”

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