'What Dreams Are Made Of' – Kublers' King Chasing Bahrain Trophy Riches 

Daniel Kubler: overseeing trackwork at Bahrain on Wednesday morning | Bahrain Turf Club


Daniel and Claire Kubler have described running stable star Astro King in Friday's $1m Bahrain Trophy as something “dreams are made of” as the husband-and-wife training duo bid to prove that you don't need to spend massive amounts at the sales to secure big-race riches on the track. 

A 36,000gns purchase from the Tattersalls Autumn Horses-In-Training Sale last year, Astro King (Ire) (Kingman {GB}) netted connections £103,080 when landing the Cambridgeshire at Newmarket in September. That performance came after Astro King cashed in a £51,540 cheque for winning a Heritage Handicap at York, meaning the ownership group of Capture The Moment, Carter & Lofthouse have long occupied bonus territory with the six-year-old. 

But overseeing morning trackwork in Bahrain on Wednesday, the Kublers admitted to being quietly confident that the dream run with their stable star could be set to continue a little while longer and outlined their hopes of coming home with more big-race riches on Friday. 

Daniel said, “The horse has settled in really well. We were a little bit concerned about travelling as it's the first time he has travelled this far but he's taken it very well and is quite relaxed. He's trained very well since he got here and, watching him this morning, he has settled into his routine quite quickly.”

Kubler added, “There is a big, long straight here so the track should suit him. It's fast ground but it looks as though they have put quite a lot of water on it. I hope they don't put too much more on it because we came here for quick ground!”

The Kubler yard is very much a joint operation. Based in Lambourn, the stable has gone from strength-to-strength in a short space of time and has sent out 21 winners domestically in 2023. 

Astro King (stripes): storming to Cambridgeshire glory | Racingfotos.com

Friday may represent the training team's first international runner but that's not to say the Kublers are rookies when it comes to challenges abroad. As well as spending three years working with Roger Charlton, Daniel spent time with Francois Doumen in France, legendary Australian trainer Gai Waterhouse and a stint in California with Ben Cecil. Meanwhile, Claire also spent time working in California as assistant to Patrick Gallagher as well working for Jeremy Noseda in Newmarket. 

In short, the pair know how hard it is to come across a horse capable of competing at this level, never mind finding one who cost them just 36,000gns. That's why the team are affording themselves the opportunity to dream this week.

Claire explained “It's a fantastic opportunity. For the owners, it's what dreams are made of. When they bought into the horse last year, of course you live on a hope that he can turn out to be a nice horse, but he has exceeded expectations already. To have won at the York Ebor Festival and then to follow up in the Cambridgeshire, it's just been amazing. Fingers crossed he puts his best foot forward on Friday.”

So how has Astro King been transformed from a 36,000gns purchase into a genuine contender for one of the world's richest races, not to mention climb 13lbs in the ratings in a little over a year? 

It has been well-documented that the Kublers are not what you'd describe as quintessential horse people in that they adopt a slightly more nuanced approach to training. The proof, as they say, is in the eating and there can be no better poster boy for this training method than Astro King.

Daniel said, “It would be nice if we could keep on repeating it but we've done really well recently and people have had a bit more confidence to give us more opportunities. We were kind of kicked into going and buying Astro King a little. 

“We had bought a few yearlings at the time but hadn't sold them all. Obviously the horses-in-training sale comes directly afterwards and a guy called Richard Farquhar, who helps us out with a few things, told us that we had to go and buy this horse. We did that and it's worked out really well. But we love going through all of the form and are very analytical people by nature so the horses-in-training sale suits us. 

“And then, when you get them home, the horsemanship side of things comes into it and we have a very good team in place at home. It's all about finding the right people to work with each individual horse and it's worked out well with Astro King.”

On their training methods, he continued, “The horsemanship and the relationships with the horses is key to the whole thing. The interaction with the horse is the base but we would then do more analytical stuff such as stride analysis and gene testing just to provide a more analytical and data approach. We are basically trying to work out how to get the best out of a horse. It's a puzzle and the more clues you have the easier it is to work it out.”

The bookmakers would lead you to believe that Friday's Bahrain Trophy is not such a difficult puzzle to work out with the Charlie Appleby-trained Nations Pride (Ire) (Teofilo {Ire}) heading the market at general odds of 15-8. Astro King is on offer at a much more general 16-1 in places and the Kublers are under no illusions about the task at hand. 

Claire commented, “I'm just really excited to be here and it's great that the Bahrain Turf Club have put this race on. They are obviously really progressive and are striving to make this a well-known race in the international calendar.”

Daniel added, “They have attracted a really high-class field. It's a race full of quality and, while we have a little to find with some of them on ratings, we know we have come here with a progressive horse who deserves his shot at a race like this. We've nothing to lose. We have been so well looked after coming out here and in many ways it's a shot to nothing. We'd like to think we have a good shot at picking up some of the prize money but, whether we can beat a 121-rated horse in Nations Pride, I don't know.”


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