Veteran Deagon trainer Pat Duff is hoping his three-year-old galloper Steel Zip can continue his recent good form and bring some stiff competition to tomorrow’s Gold Coast Guineas showdown.
Canadian Silver gelding Steel Zip scored their third career win from just eight starts when narrowly holding on to defeat Snip ‘N’ Duck in the Listed BRC Queensland Day Plate (1350m) at Doomben on April 16.
It was the improving runner’s first black-type assignment and Duff saw enough in the run to give Steel Zip, purchased for just $13,000 at the Magic Millions Sales, a shot at Group glory in the $125,000 Group 3 Gold Coast Guineas (1200m) on Sunday.
“I was at the sales and specked him for $13,000,” Duff said of Steel Zip.
“When I took him home I couldn’t get many people to come in and be a partner so I kept a share in him myself.
“He’s been very honest and has never been out of the money in his eight starts.”
So far Steel Zip has well rewarded Duff having amassed over $170,000 in prize money.
Prior to the Queensland Day Plate Duff was considering sending Steel Zip to the spelling paddock for a rest but the gritty youngster continues to show form.
“He’s been up a long time but he’s got a good record,” Duff said.
“I was going to spell him if he didn’t go well but if the fruit is ripe you’ve got to keep picking it.”
There were 21 final acceptors for this year’s Gold Coast Guineas, the field of 16 starters now to include first emergency Wonderful Lass following the early scratching of the Peter Snowden-trained Celts.
In the Gold Coast Guineas barrier draw Steel Zip came up with the advantageous gate four and is due to be ridden by regular jockey Mandy Radecker.
With the likes of Caloundra galloper and last start Eagle Farm winner Ready To Rip ($3.80) and Tony Gollan’s Sequalo colt Spirit Of Boom ($4.80) dominating Guineas betting, Steel Zip has flown under the radar and sits as a $17 outsider in the current markets.
Although yet to race at the Gold Coast track, Steel Zip has a good record over the 1200m having won the Hardy Brothers Jewellers Handicap at Eagle Farm over this distance in March and also running third over the 1200m at Doomben in February.
Another double figure chance in the Guineas tomorrow that has the support of their trainer is Robert Heathcote’s Falvelon gelding Excellantes.
Paying $10 in the markets, premier Brisbane trainer Rob Heathcote is hoping the addition of blinkers to Excellante’s gear tomorrow will sharpen them up enough to take out the Guineas.
Excellantes comes off the ideal form having run a very close second to Zippity Jet over 1000m at Eagle Farm first-up this prep after which they won back-to-back 3YO Handicaps over 1200m in April boosting his career record up to three wins from six starts.
“Even though he’s won his last two in town (Eagle Farm) I’m putting blinkers on him for the first time,” Heathcote said.
“I just think he needs them as he lost concentration when he got to the front in his last two runs.”
Ridden by Damien Browne previously this season, with Browne aboard race favourite Ready To Rip tomorrow Heathcote has engaged the services of Larry Cassidy for Excellantes.
“I think Ready To Rip is the one to beat after Damian jumped off my bloke to ride him,” Heathcote said.
“Larry Cassidy is happy to get the ride but it’s a very hard race.”
Heathcote also rates Spirit Of Boom as a top contender in the feature after the Toowoomba runner bought their form to Eagle Farm last start finishing an eye-catching third to Ready To Rip in the $100,000 Mick Dittman Plate (1000m) on April 23.
“Ready to Rip is the one to beat but Spirit Of Boom also has the runs on the board,” he said.
“My horse hasn’t met the opposition those horses have but he gets his chance tomorrow.
“I need a drier track as we can get for him even although he has won on a dead and slow track.
“He’s much better on top of the ground.”
Following the Gold Coast Guineas, Heathcote will take Excellantes to Doomben for the Group 3 Fred Best Classic (1350m) on May 21 before deciding on further Brisbane Winter Carnival plans.
“We’ll see how he goes in the Fred Best Classic but he’s by Falvelon so I doubt he’ll run a mile in the Queensland Guineas (Group 2 at Eagle Farm on June 11).”