Consistent gelding Steel Zip continues to prove trainer Pat Duff has one of the best eyes for a racing bargain.
Steel Zip will be one of the favourites for the Brisbane Fire Protection Handicap (1350m) at Doomben on Saturday and is on course for the $150,000 Listed Weetwood Handicap (1300m) in Toowoomba on April 12.
He has been an ultra-consistent placegetter this campaign, confirmed with his third in the Falvelon Quality behind Tiger Tees.
In all Steel Zip has won six races and been placed 11 times from 42 starts for $478,500 in prize money, an excellent return on a $13,000 sales price.
Racing Steel Zip is a family affair, being the last horse raced by Duff’s late wife Dinah and their children.
Steel Zip is typical of Duff’s stable as the veteran trainer has a record of producing cheap horses which give huge returns.
Examples include Hard to Catch, which cost $20,000 and returned $1.1 million, Heart of the Citi who returned $1 million on his $40,000 price and Star Of Florida who won more than $500,000 for his $50,000 sale cost.
There have been many other examples but Duff has a simple explanation for his success.
“A small budget. We never have the big owners so we have to look for value and I go on type rather than pedigree.
“It probably goes back to when I won the Rockhampton Cup with a horse called El Akbar (1982).”
Duff noticed Steel Zip, who is one of the last of top sire Canadian Silver’s offspring, parading before the yearling sales and decided to buy him on looks.
“He is probably two lengths off being a Group horse but he tries hard and I reckon he will be suited in a race like the Weetwood,” he said.
“I won the Weetwood with Ima Cheetah (in 1980) and it is my hometown race so I would like to win it again before I am through.”