Trainer Pat Duff has placed his confidence in Sairyn Fawke who will be just the third apprentice to ride veteran sprinter Steel Zip when he lines up at Doomben for his 70th start.
Although Steel Zip has generally been considered a horse who needs a senior rider, Duff is keen to use Fawke’s three-kilogram claim on the eight-year-old to offset his 60kg in Saturday’s Open Sprint (1350m).
“He (Fawke) has been around a while and he will get the job done,” Duff said.
Fawke returned to riding late last year after suffering internal injuries in a fall at Rockhampton in June and claimed his first metropolitan double early last month.
The recent retirement of Temple of Boom, Adebisi and Little Brown Horse leaves Steel Zip as one of the few Brisbane crowd favourites still racing.
Duff hopes to keep it that way with a carefully managed campaign which will lead into the winter carnival.
Steel Zip was scratched from last Sunday’s Listed Sunshine Coast Cup when the track was rated a heavy 10.
“The horse has been very good to my family who race him, and he is popular with rank and file punters,” Duff said.
“I don’t want to set him a task which could do him some harm. It means keeping a monitor on the weather and his weight.”
He said he was reluctant to run Steel Zip on heavy tracks or to run the gelding on hot days carrying a lot of weight.
“Steel Zip tries so hard but at his age you don’t need to run him every time,” Duff said.
“We keep him going with beach work and he is always fit.
“We will again monitor the weather and if conditions aren’t right we will not run.”
Steel Zip was the TAB’s $5 second favourite on Friday behind Sunshine Coast Cup winner Timeless Prince at $4.50.
After Saturday, Duff will give Steel Zip a short break.
“I will let him have some time off in the paddock and then bring him back for the winter carnival. At his age we aren’t looking at Stradbrokes or 10,000s,” Duff said.
“It is more a case of the lower rung stakes races such as the Eye Liner stakes, Glasshouse Mountain Sprint and BTC Sprint.”