Owners of The Astrologist

From Ascot to Ascot: The Astrologist is ready to conquer

The last time six-year-old gelding The Astrologist won was at Ascot Racecourse in Western Australia in December 2022. Fast forward six months and he’s back racing at Ascot, but this time in the United Kingdom at one of the world’s most prestigious thoroughbred events.

The Leon and Troy Corstens-trained sprinter will race in the 1200 metre Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes on June 24.

Originally purchased for $150,000 at the Magic Millions sales, The Astrologist, or as his owners affectionately call him “Astro”, has gone onto win more than $2.1 million in prizemoney since 2018,  including a notable second in the 2022 Group-1 Newmarket Handicap.

His continued success has been celebrated by his owners, made up of 19 different parties including both syndicates and individuals, many of whom are heading over to England to cheer him on.

Director of Bennett’s Racing, Nathan Bennett, who has overseen the purchase and syndication of the horse, said that those who were able to, were looking forward to making the trip over to the UK.

“There’s about 66 owners plus guests flying over on June 13, so it’s about 80 people which is just incredible,” he said.

“Everyone is dusting off their top hat and getting their tails ready and they are pretty excited.”

“We all agree that the best thing about him is that he always has a crack and leaves nothing out there and are pleased that he’ll be ridden by fellow Australian Damian Lane.”

This is a sentiment shared by fellow owner David Sullivan who will be travelling from Singapore to England with his father John.

“Astro is just so tough and honest - he rarely runs a bad race. The journey he is taking us on to Dubai and the UK is very special. We just love him, and I think any owner would love to have a horse like him. He's a genuine racehorse,” he said.

“I was lucky enough to become involved when I was introduced to Nathan Bennett back in 2018 by one of Australia's luckiest owners, Sonney Roth. We fortuitously reconnected a few years later as part of the ownership of Bring Me The Maid, who was the first horse I ever syndicated a share in.

“She was a beauty of a horse and owning her certainly gave us the ‘bug’, and we have since enjoyed reasonable success with other horses such as Murphy's Delight, Danchai and Golden Spin.”

Both Sullivan and Bennett were quick to praise being involved in horse ownership, whether as an individual or in a syndicate.

“We have been pretty fortunate in our ownership journey, and it has been great to share the journey with friends and family,” Sullivan said.

“That said, we have also met some amazing people through our ownership interests, and for me living in Singapore, it is a great way to stay connected with people back in Australia. We have WhatsApp groups where we share the ups and downs of ownership and it's great fun.

“It's the closest we'll ever get to owning a sports team, and to have the opportunity to share a passion with likeminded people is one of the great gifts of ownership.”

“Another one of our owners has moved to the UK since purchasing Astro and he said to me the other day, ‘I never could have dreamt that I’d be watching him race at Ascot’ and so I think that really shows that you never know where ownership could lead you,” Bennett said.

Owner of multiple Group-1 winning horses, including the Lexus 2022 Melbourne Cup winner Gold Trip, Roth said that the journey with Astro has been a rewarding experience for all involved.

“Buying him as a yearling and watching him for the last four to five years you get this real attachment and he’s just taken us on the most amazing journey,” he said.

“I’ve been telling as many owners as possible to head over and watch him as we may never have this opportunity again and it’s a real bucket list moment.

“It takes me back to watching his first ever jump out at Flemington over the 800 metres and then racing the following Saturday. He was squawking and carrying on as two-year-olds tend to do, but he’s come a long way and just given us so much joy.”

Roth, who has had a multitude of experience in ownerships both as an individual and in syndicates, along with breeding programs, also encouraged any potential owners to become involved in the sport.

“It doesn’t matter whether you have one or 100 percent in a horse, the experience that ownership can bring you can never be taken away,” he said.

When asked to rate Astro’s chances at Royal Ascot the responses were consistent in that his past performances held him in good stead and the opportunity itself meant more than the result.

“You normally buy into a horse just hoping it makes it onto the track, so to have a horse heading to a Group 1 at Royal Ascot is a bit silly really! It is a privilege to be involved with him - he is such a gutsy, tough horse, and I just love the way he gives his all each start,” said Sullivan.

“He might not be the best sprinter in Australia, but he's never been too far away in the big sprints, so we knew he was pretty capable. When he ran in Dubai and nearly pulled off the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint on March 26, it made us believe that he is good enough to compete on the international stage.

“The opportunity to take him to Royal Ascot is the stuff of fairytales as an owner, and one we couldn't refuse. He’s not there to make up the numbers and the track will suit him. At his best, he’s good enough to win it.”

“He’s taken us on a such an exciting journey and whatever he does on the day will be a bonus,” said Bennett.

“He owes us nothing.”