Veteran Steel Zip’s recent impressive barrier trial win has his trainer confident the sprinter can reach the million dollar prize money milestone at his next start.
Pat Duff has carefully planned an assault on the Listed $150,000 Weetwood Hcp (1200m) at Toowoomba on Saturday.
Duff won the Weetwood with Ima Cheetah in 1980 and has had several other minor placegetters.
“I trained in Toowoomba for many years and the Weetwood is the race everyone up there wants to win,” Duff said.
Duff called a halt to Steel Zip’s summer campaign in January with the Weetwood in mind and has taken the nine-year-old along slowly.
“He has been in the stables and had his usual routine of going to the beach which he enjoys,” Duff said.
Steel Zip trialled at Deagon last week and beat a handy field of sprinters in an open trial.
“He was very good in the trial and showed he had lost none of his zest for racing,” Duff said.
Steel Zip will be having his 80th start on Saturday in a career which has yielded 11 wins and 21 placings for $944,500.
A Weetwood win would lift Steel Zip’s earnings to $1,040,500.
He was a strong finishing sixth at his last start at Doomben on March 11.
“It was an ideal race although too short for him at 1050 metres but he should get the pace on in the Weetwood and that will suit him perfectly back to 1200,” Duff said.
“I would love him to pass a million dollars in prize money. He would be the third horse I have trained to pas the magic mark after Hard To Catch and Heart Of The Citi.
“But because he was the last horse raced by my late wife Dinah it would be something special. She loved him and would be thrilled.”
Fellow trainer Kevin Kemp is hoping recent Dalby Newmarket winner Tisani Tomso will make the Weetwood field after an unlucky third behind Mount Nebo at Doomben on Saturday.
“He should have won as he kept running up backsides in the straight.” Kemp said.
“He probably needed to win to make the Weetwood field but we will be accepting for the race.”
There were 41 nominations taken on Monday with the field restricted to 14 plus five emergencies.
The 2015 Weetwood winner Mr Favulous is also entered after finishing just behind Tisani Tomso at Doomben at his second run back from retirement.