Trainer Pat Duff is pleased with the condition of Steel Zip, ahead of the veteran sprinter’s competitive return in Saturday’s Listed Eye Liner Stakes (1350m) at Ipswich Racecourse.
The stable star for Duff throughout his long and busy eighty-one start career, Steel Zip has not been seen at the races since his credible performance for sixth in the Sky Thoroughbred Central Handicap (1350m) at Doomben on April 15th.
Having purposely elected to bypass the major sprint races during the Brisbane Winter Carnival, Duff is confident that the Canadian Silver gelding is in the right shape to improve from last year’s third place finish in the Eye Liner Stakes; his best result in the race throughout three prior attempts.
“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 told AAP.
“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.
“This is will almost certainly be his last winter carnival and I would love him to win another stakes race.”
Having made his competitive debut for Duff during the summer of 2010, Steel Zip has been a strong and consistent performer throughout his entire career and will take his place in the Eye Liner Stakes field with an excellent record of eleven wins and twenty-one minor placings, for more than $900,000 in prize money.
Following on from his impressive third behind Ninth Legion and Beckham in the Eye Liner Stakes last winter, Steel Zip finished fourth in the Listed Glasshouse Handicap (1400m) before placing third in the Listed Ramornie Handicap (1200m) at Grafton.
The nine-year-old again returned to racing in top form in summer; placing second in the Listed Bribie Handicap (1050m) first-up and fourth in the Listed Sunshine Coast Cup (1400m) most notably on January 28th.
The 2017 Eye Liner Stakes field and barrier draw is due to be completed and released by midday, Wednesday (June 14th).