Trainer Pat Duff is banking on a hot pace in tomorrow’s Listed $175,000 City Of Ipswich Eye Liner Stakes at Ipswich to give Steel Zip the opportunity to finish strongly at the end of the 1350m.
Steel Zip has drawn out at fifteen, but Duff is hopeful Grant Cooksley will be able to slot in midfield as the field spreads out in the run to the first turn.
“I’d have to say I’d prefer it was 1400m, the 1350m is about as short as I’d want to go, but there should be a lot of speed on in a race like that and I’m sure he will be getting home at the finish,” Duff said.
Duff looks like getting his preferred track rating with Ipswich being rated a dead 5 on Friday morning after Steel Zip wasn’t comfortable last start on a heavy 10 when fifth to Celtic Dancer in the Group 2 $175,000 Brisbane Racing Carnival QTC Cup (1300m) at Eagle Farm on June 2.
“While he goes down on record as having won on a heavy track I think he is a far better horse on dead to slow,” Duff said.
“When you get down to the very heavy range he tolerates it but doesn’t enjoy it.”
Duff is taking a form line through $2.80 favourite Belltone after the pair have meet twice recently with the honours shared and expects the pair to be close at the finish again.
Steel Zip beat Belltone home when third in the Group 3 $125,000 Darley BRC Sprint (1350m) at Doomben on May 19 then Belltone had the edge on the heavy 10 finishing second when Steel Zip was fifth in the QTC Cup.
“I thought he and Belltone were very close and I have a feeling wherever one is the other won’t be far away,” Duff said.
“He will need some luck because he’ll be coming off the pace and if he is fortunate to get the run when he needs it he will be right there.”
Trainer Gerald Ryan has adopted the same program for Adnocon leading into tomorrow’s Eye Liner Stakes in an attempt to win his third straight Ipswich feature sprint, equalling Pittance’s record who took out the race in 2000, 2001 and 2002.
Ryan has given Adnocon two solid Rosehill barrier trials in preparation for his return to racing after being sent for a spell after finishing tenth in $328,000 R M Williams Magic Millions Cup (1400m) at the Gold Coast on January 14.
“This is the same program as last year when he won the Eye Liner Stakes,” Ryan said.
“He’s had two barrier trials at Rosehill after coming back from a break and is going first-up into the Eye Liner.”
“I did the same with him last year. He had two barrier trials at Rosehill before he won the Eye Liner first-up.”
“His wide barrier doesn’t worry me. He won from out wide last year and there’s always speed on in the Eye Liner.”
Ryan didn’t want to compare his six year old with Pittance, saying they had completely opposite racing styles.
“Pittance was a really fast horse whereas Adnocon is more adaptable and has won up to 1900 metres in Sydney,” he said.
Ryan is likely to proceed to the Listed $175,000 Reed Property Group Glasshouse Handicap (1400m) at the Sunshine Coast on June 30 and set up a return clash with Steel Zip and Belltone.
“He ran fourth in last year’s Glasshouse and second the previous year but both times he ran into a horse called Woorim,” Ryan said.