Hobartville bred Ashokan sets sights on the Golden Slipper
An $810,000 Inglis Easter purchase from the draft of Kitchwin Hills, stylish near black colt Ashokan was the most expensive yearling by his sire sold in 2011 and is now headed for the Group I ATC Golden Slipper after scoring a determined victory in the Group III ATC Skyline Stakes at Randwick on Saturday.
Having his second start following an encouraging debut second at Rosehill last month, the John O’Shea trained colt was fitted with blinkers for his first crack at Black Type and the decision proved a winning move.
Ashokan jumped well and travelled forward for Jim Cassidy to sit outside the leader and despite racing a bit keenly, found plenty in the run home to defeat the previously unbeaten race favourite Raceway by three quarters of a length.
“He showed every indication at home that he would be competitive today,” said O’Shea.
“He’s still learning, but he was strong to the line.”
Winning rider Jim Cassidy was also aboard the colt when he made his debut and was quick to note the improvement.
“He’s gone from cheese to chalk, the blinkers have really switched him on,” he said.
“We did plenty of work early in the race, but when they got to the furlong he really dug deep and showed his class.”
Ashokan was purchased by bloodstock agent James Harron on behalf of well known Sydney owners Dr and Mrs Edmund Bateman, who also have star colt Foxwedge in work with O’Shea.
“It’s a great result for the Batemans and if we can keep him together for the next three weeks and get him to the Slipper it will be three years in a row that they have had a runner,” O’Shea pointed out.
Last year the Bateman owned Foxwedge and Satin Shoes contested the Golden Slipper finishing seventh and ninth respectively, while the previous year they had Georgette Silk, who also finished out of a place.
Ashokan represents their third roll of the dice at the world’s richest juvenile race and he’s certainly bred to be there on Slipper Day.
Bred by Hobartville Stud and foaled and raised at Kitchwin Hills, Ashokan is the first foal of classy Flying Spur mare November Flight, who won seven races highlighted by the Group III STC Millie Fox Stakes.
Not only is he bred on the same cross as Golden Slipper winner Sebring being by More Than Ready (USA) from a daughter of Golden Slipper winner Flying Spur, he also traces back to a Golden Slipper winner claiming Century Miss as his fourth dam, so there are Slipper connections all around Ashokan, who is the 95thstakes-winner for Vinery Stud’s More Than Ready.
His dam November Flight has a filly by Shamardal (USA) last spring and is back in foal to More Than Ready (USA), while her current yearling, a colt by Red Ransom (USA) will be offered by Kitchwin Hills as Lot 304 at the 2012 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale.