Aesterius fires home in Dragon Stakes

The Archie Watson-trained Aesterius landed the Listed Dragon Stakes at Sandown on Friday, representing another success story from the breeze-up sales.

Trainer: Archie Watson
Trainer: Archie Watson Picture: (Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

Bought for £380,000 from Goffs, the Wathnan Racing-owned colt recorded an easy debut victory at Bath in late May before finishing one-and-a-half lengths in fifth behind fellow Wathnan colt Shareholder in the Group 2 Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Facing five rivals at Sandown, the son of Mehmas started 6/4 favourite and the result never appeared to be in question under a confident ride from James Doyle. Aesterius was asked to quicken with a furlong to run and pulled comfortably away from the field, beating It Ain't Two by one-and-a-quarter lengths at the lines.

Trainer Archie Watson was pleased with the performance, saying:

"He ran a huge race at Ascot and like a lot of the races there it was affected by the draw. He raced against Whistlejacket the whole way and didn't get the chance to race against anything else. He ran a huge race and was only beaten just over a length.

"With half an eye on Goodwood this was the obvious race to come to in the meantime. He's sharpened up and James was very happy. We would have preferred something better to lead us deeper into the race, James was just trying to keep a hold of him so he wasn't landing in front three furlongs out.

"He's done everything right and I'm sure he will improve again for getting a stronger pace to run at."

"The Goodwood Festival is very important for these owners and we will most likely be aiming at the Richmond Stakes or the Molecomb Stakes, depending on what we think trip-wise," he added.

"Because he galloped out so well over the stiff six at Ascot, before the race we were thinking Richmond, but watching that race live and immediate thoughts after, I would be thinking he would travel very well in a Molecomb.

"We'll see where we fit in alongside other horses owned by the owner, but I would say it will be Goodwood next for one of those two races."

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