The Astrologist back to best

The Astrologist showed he still has the zest for racing with his recent placing at Group 1 level.

THE ASTROLOGIST. Picture: Racing Photos

The Astrologist showed the Leon and Troy Corstens stable that he was back to his best with his recent Flemington placing and is on song for a Group 1 weight-for-age assignment. 

Troy Corstens was relieved after watching The Astrologist finish third in the Newmarket Handicap (1200m) on March 9 after struggling to find form following a European trip last year. 

Now The Astrologist heads to weight-for-age company on Saturday for the Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) where he is pitted against Cylinder and Imperatriz who beat him home at Flemington. 

"I wasn't rapt, I was ecstatic, with his run last time," Corstens said. 

"But I was more relieved than anything as there were so many people putting doubts in mind. 

"I knew the horse was going well and I was happy with him, but my only question mark with him was whether he had acclimatised since he had come back. 

"If that was the case, I didn't need people in my ear telling me to retire him, because it was possibly a case of, he needed a little break and then he goes again. 

"To see what he did the other day was a massive relief and that was what we needed to see and to show everyone that he was going OK." 

That last run was under handicap conditions and on Saturday The Astrologist rises from 52.5kg to 58.5kg and meets Imperatriz on 7.5kg worse weight terms. 

That is a massive turnaround, but Corstens is looking at the positives, more than that negative. 

"He has run well at weight-for-age before and also in the William Reid," Corstens said. 

"We were going to look at the Country Discovery (at Yarra Valley next week). It would have been a nice race for him, but we really want to get that Group 1 against his name. 

"I know it will be hard against Imperatriz and the good horses, but he'll try hard and if he gets a little bit of luck, and gets a nice run, maybe he can win it." 

The heat on Newmarket Handicap Day knocked a few horses around, but The Astrologist handled the occasion brilliantly. 

Corstens pointed to the sprinter's trips to Dubai and Perth where he performed well as a guide to the gelding's liking for the heat. 

"There was a lot of horses that took that hot day really hard," Corstens said. 

"One of ours, Aardvark, he knew he'd had the run, but you look at The Astrologist, he's raced in Dubai, he's raced in Perth. 

"He's used to the heat and when I went back and had a look at him, he was outstanding." 

After Saturday's outing, Corstens is planning a trip to Adelaide for the Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m) at Morphettvile in May and then further to Brisbane for the Group 1 double of the Kingsford Smith Cup (1200m) and Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) in June.