Veteran sprinter Steel Zip is set to start his last winter carnival in the Listed Eye Liner Stakes at Ipswich.
Steel Zip hasn’t run since mid-April with trainer Pat Duff deliberately avoiding the better sprinters over the carnival.
Now a nine-year-old, Steel Zip has been a fixture in winter carnival races since 2011 when he won the Listed Queensland Day Handicap.
He has had 51 starts in stakes and Magic Millions races over the years and has contested 29 winter carnival features.
Saturday will be the fourth time he has run in the Eye Liner (1350m) with his best effort a third in last year’s race behind Ninth legion.
Duff said he would pick and choose the races for Steel Zip during the latter part of the carnival.
“I will have a good look at who is also in the field. He worked very strongly on Saturday morning and he is ready to race,” Duff said.
“I think a race like the Ramornie at Grafton next month would suit him as well.
“He is like me – not getting any younger – and you are always waiting for him to tell you he has had enough.
“But he is fit and seems to be still loving the stable life, so why retire him just yet.”
Duff has trained two horses who have won more than a million dollars, Hard To Catch and Heart of the Citi, and would love Steel Zip to join them.
Steel Zip has won $944,000 and a win in the Eye Liner would elevate him to the millionaire’s club.
“This is will almost certainly be his last winter carnival and I would love him to win another stakes race,” Duff said.
Steel Zip is one of 30 nominations for the Eye Liner with 14 entered for the Ipswich Cup (2150m) headed by Benzini, fourth on Saturday in his attempt to defend his Brisbane Cup.