Astapor’s Magic Millions Classic 2024 credentials go on the line

Clinton Taylor has enjoyed the easy wins that Astapor has had to start his career, but the Rockhampton trainer is happy to see his in-demand colt faced with a challenge at Eagle Farm this Saturday.

The son of Tassort will put his Magic Millions credentials on the line in the Group 3 BJ McLachlan Stakes (1200m), in which Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott’s Magic Millions 2YO Classic favourite Storm Boy is also engaged.

Astapor won by almost five lengths at Rockhampton on debut and three lengths at Doomben at his only other start, but Taylor understands the degree of difficulty rises greatly this weekend.

“He’s always showed me he was above average, but in saying that, I don’t know how strong the fields are he’s been beating,” Taylor said.

“It’s a big step for him on Saturday. That thing of Gai’s has got a big spruik on it, but he deserves his chance. He’s got a nice alley (barrier one) and I do think he has improved since his last run.

“It’s a really good step for him and I’m really looking forward to seeing how he goes with it.”

Astapor has been an early star for first-season sire Tassort and is the first foal from Lonhro mare Black Mink.

He cost just $38,000 out of Book 2 at this year’s Gold Coast Yearling Sale, where he was bought by Rodney Hay, who has since been knocking back offers of up to 25 times what he paid for him.

For Taylor, Astapor comes along just over 12 months after his previous best horse – flying filly Chinny Boom – brought him to Brisbane.

“Dreams do come true, we went down with this hype with Chinny Boom 12 months ago and to have another horse come along is unbelievable,” Taylor said.

“It’s our second starter in a Group race this weekend, he’s a real live hope and if we can go down there and run top three on Saturday we’ll be over the moon.”

Astapor is second favourite for the B J McLachlan Stakes with Storm Boy, who comfortably defeated last week’s Caulfield winner Traffic Warden on debut, dominating markets.

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